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Full text of "Philosophy Vol XX 1945"

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PHILOSOPHY 

(THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INSTITUTE 
OF PHILOSOPHY) 



EDITED BY 

SYDNEY E. HOOPER 

WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF 

SIR ERNEST BARKER JULIAN S. HUXLEY BERTRAND RUSSELL 

C. D. BROAD * HAROLD J. LASKI L. J. RUSSELL 

WILMAM BROWN A. D. LINDSAY N. KEMP SMITH 

A. C. EWING JOHN MACMURRAY A. E. TAYLOR 

M. GINSBERG H. H. PRICE CLEMENT C. J, WEBB 

H. F. HALLETT SIR W. DAVID ROSS 



^ YQL. XX.-I945 



LONDON: 

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED 

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, W.C. 

1945 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME 



ARTICLES 

ALTMANN, A. Symbol and Myth .......... 162 

BODKIN, MAUD. Physical Agencies and the Divine Persuasion - - - 148 

FALK, W. D. Obligation and Rightness ........ 129 

FINDLAY, J. N. On Mind and Our Knowledge of It ..... 206 

GREGORY, J. C. On Knowing One Another ....... 2jf4 

HALLETT, H. F. The Essential Nature of Knowledge ..... 227 

HOOPER, S. E. Whitehead's Philosophy: Propositions and Consciousness - 59 

JOSEPH, H. W. B. The late. Life and Pleasure (I) ...... 117 



JOSEPH, H. W. B. The late. Life and Pleasure (II) - 

LAIRD, JOHN Finality in Theology 

LAMONT, W. D. Politics and Culture 

OAKELEY, HILDA D. Mind in Nature 

RITCHIE, A. D. Scientific Method in Social Sjtudies - 



195 
99 
39 

. - , _ s ^ 3 

r M. Martin Bi|ber's|'I sin^TTho^^f -9 - 17 

blSCUSSION 

RUSSELL, L. J. The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell 172 

NEW BOOKS 

AGAR, W. E. A Contribution to the Theory of the Living Organism (J. H. 

Woodger) 265 

BERKELEY, GEORGE, BISHOP OF CLO YNE. Philosophical Commen- 
taries: generally called the Commonplace Book. Ed. A. A. Luce (John 

Laird) 276 

CALLUS, D. A. Introduction of Aristotelian Learning to Oxford (W. D. Ross) 278 

CARNAP, R. Formalisation of Logic (E. Toms) 84 

CARRE, M. H.Does It Follow? (E, Toms) 183 

CLARKE, F. P., and NAHM, M. C. (editors). Philosophical Essays In Honor of 

Edgar Arthur Singer, Jr. (John Laird) 80 

COLLINGWOOD, R. G. The late. The Idea of Nature (Edmund Whittaker) - 260 

FOULKES, S. H. Psycho-Analysis and Crime (W. J. H. Sprott) 79 
HUNT, R., and KLIBANSKY, R. (editors). Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 

(A. E. Taylor) 78 

JOAD, C. E. M. Philosophy (Irene M. Hubbard) 279 

KAPP, ERNST. Greek Foundations of Traditional Logic (M. Macdonald)- - 278 

KNOX, T. M. (trsl.). Hegel's Philosophy of Right (F. H. Heinemann) - - 81 
LAIRD, JOHN, The Device of Government. An Essay in Civil Polity (H. B. 

Acton) 89 

LEPLEY, RAY. The Verifiability of Value (John Laird) 188 

MYERS, H. A. The Spinoza-Hegel Paradox (T. M. Knox) 92 

PATON, H. J. Can Reason Be Practical? (R. Jackson) 262 

PEPPER, S. C. World Hypotheses ? a Study in Evidence (W. H. Walsh) - - 86 

RICHMOND, I. A. Robin George Collingwood, 1889-1943 (G. H. Langley) - 271 

SCHILPP, P. A. (ed.). The Philosophy ofG. E. Moore (R. B. Braithwaite) - 256 

SHELDON, W. H. America's Progressive Philosophy (John Laird) - - - 189 

SHELDON, W. H. Process and Polarity (R. I. Aaron) 269 

SINCLAIR, W. A. An Introduction to Philosophy (I. M. Hubbard) - - - 281 

STAGE, W. T. The Destiny of Western Man (R. E. Stedman) - 267 

STEBBING, L. SUSAN. The late. Men and Moral Principles (M. Macdonald) - 76 

STEBBING, L, SUSAN. The late. A Modern Elementary Logic (M. Macdonald) 91 

TAYLOR, A. E. William George de Burgh, 1866-1943 (G. H. Langley) - - 273 

TSANOFF, R. A.- The Moral Ideals of Our Civilization (John Laird) - - 186 

WODEHOUSE, HELEN M. -Owe Kind of Religion (J. W. Harvey) - - - 274' 



CONTENTS 



CORRESPONDENCE 

CARRE, M. H. 284 

HODGSON, LEONARD 284 

HOOPER, S. E. (Periodicals for France) * - r - 94 

LAING, B. M. I - - 95 

PATON, H. J. 94 

INSTITUTE NOTES 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. Address by the President, The Rt. Hon. 

Viscount Samuel: "The Institute in the War Period" - - - 286 

LECTURE AT THE INSTITUTE 192 

PROFESSOR A. N. WHITEHEAD, O.M. 96 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 
BY UNWIN BROTHERS LIMITED 
LONDON AND WOKINO 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

I. SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES. PROFESSOR A. D. 

RITCHIE 3 

II. MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU. 1 HELEN WODEHOUSE, M.A,, 

D.PHIL 17 

III. MIND IN ^ATURE. HILDA D. OAKELEY, D.Litt 31 

IV. POLITICS IN CULTURE. W. D. LAMONT, M.A., D.Phil. . . 39 

V. WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness. 

SYDNEY E. HOOPER, M.A 59 

VI. NEW BOOKS 76 

VII. CORRESPONDENCE 94 

VIII. INSTITUTE NOTES 96 



THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY 

Appeal for New Members and Donations 

THE Council appeals to members to do all in their power to introduce new members 
in order to extend the benefits of the Institute and to increase its revenue. 

The Institute has no endowments, and its work, which includes lecture courses 
and meetings for discussion in the various Centres, as well as the conduct of the 
Journal, cannot be carried on from revenue derived solely from Subscriptions of 
i is. per annum. The Council, therefore, appeals for donations, small or large, 
from sympathizers with the Institute's aim. 

Printing costs have gone up by 50%. 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 
BY UNWIN BROTHERS LIMITED 
LONDON AND WOKING 



PHILOSOPHY 

THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INSTITUTE 
OF PHILOSOPHY 



VOL. XX. No. 75 APRIL 1945 

SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 1 

PROFESSOR A. D. RITCHIE 

THERE is a short answer to the question, whether scientific method 
can be applied to the study of the social relations of men, or, whether 
social sciences are possible; it is that these sciences exist and are in 
fact among the most ancient. Their success has perhaps been less 
startling than that of the physical sciences and they have perhaps 
been pursued with less enthusiasm. But there are reasons for this 
inherent in the nature of the social sciences, as I shall try to show. 

It is often alleged that the reason for the recent immense advance 
of the physical as compared with the social sciences is that much 
money has been devoted to the former and very little to the latter. 
It is also alleged that this is because wicked capitalists desire the 
development of physical science to help them to get richer and wicked 
governments desire it to help them fight their neighbours. If capi- 
talists and governments are wicked it should be a matter for con- 
gratulation that they choose to spend their money perverting mere 
dead matter to their wicked ends rather than perverting living men, 
as they would do, supposing the mere spending of money was enough 
to develop social sciences; and supposing also, that a knowledge of 
social sciences confers the same kind of control over human relations 
that knowledge of physical sciences does over relations of material 
objects. The question as to the wickedness or otherwise of capitalists 
and governments is not relevant to my present purpose and may be 
left unanswered. But the last two suppositions, which are very 
commonly made, must be repudiated. 

The physical sciences have now reached a point at which, in 
certain matters, the technique of discovery and invention is so well 
understood, that the mere spending of money on hiring technically 

1 Herbert Spencer Lecture, Oxford, May 14, 1943. 



PHILOSOPHY 

trained workers and buying apparatus will produce in a fairly short 
time results of a kind agreeable to the desires of capitalists and 
governments. The social sciences have not reached this stage of 
technical development, and perhaps never will. 

Again, a knowledge of physical sciences does confer control over 
certain relations of material bodies. If the engine of a car fails to 
start, a knowledge of certain branches of physics is of value towards 
getting it going. It is too easily assumed that a knowledge of psycho- 
logy, for instance, confers on those who have it the kind of control 
over human beings that a knowledge of physics confers over internal 
combustion engines. It may be so in some cases, but certainly not in 
all. There are in general two ways of controlling other people force 
and persuasion. Psychology is not much use for the first but it might 
be for the second. Still, do you think that Delilah would have had 
any greater success with Samson if she had studied psychology? 
What is more, if Delilah reads books on psychology, so can Samson. 
Sauce for the psychological goose is sauce for the psychological 
gander. Besides, persuasion depends upon personal knowledge of the 
person persuaded. It is doubtful whether science can ever teach that. 

Though the results that are to be expected from pursuing the 
social sciences are not exactly of the same kind as those that come 
from the physical and other natural sciences, it is still quite proper 
to speak of social sciences. What makes any study scientific is that it 
has a definite subject matter, is systematic and comprehensive and 
that its aim is to discover the truth as far as possible. Scientific 
method in general is just taking things in order, simplifying as far as 
necessary and possible, endeavouring to leave out nothing that 
ought to go in, and distinguishing true from false. For the rest the 
method of science is the method of discussion and argument. How- 
ever, as each separate science has its distinct subject matter, its 
method has to be adapted to that subject matter and special tech- 
nical means developed. Thus in each science certain kinds of ques- 
tions are asked and certain corresponding answers obtained. Tech- 
nique and apparatus are tools for asking questions and getting 
answers; in the different sciences different questions and therefore 
different answers. 

A distinction is drawn between pure and applied science or be- 
tween science and technology; for the present I prefer to use the 
traditional terms science and art to mark the kind of difference 
generally intended. Thus science is concerned to discover the truth 
about some specific subject matter. Art is concerned with adapting 
means to ends, the ends being human purposes. Thus we have arts of 
medicine, agriculture and engineering. The peculiar modern use of 
the term art to mean the spreading of pigments on paper or canvas, 
I am putting aside for the moment in favour of older usage. The 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

successful pursuit of any art depends upon using the relevant scien- 
tific knowledge available. One can distinguish the science of arith- 
metic from the art of calculation, which applies arithmetical laws to 
human purposes; keeping accounts for instance. Thus we find some 
people who neglect these laws or are ignorant of them, putting money 
on horses and losing it, while others who understand them and use 
them, namely the bookies, make money out of such transactions. 
However, the application of arithmetic to human affairs does not 
constitute arithmetic a social science, since arithmetic considers onfy 
numbers and their relations. Numbers are always just numbers 
whether they are used for counting coins or stars or hours or sins or 
not used for counting anything. 

The distinction between science and art is a matter of purpose 
more than method and is not always easy to draw because the two 
different purposes may be pursued together. Newton's main contri- 
bution to the science of optics, his discovery that white light is 
composite and its simple constituents are coloured, arose out of his 
interest in the art of optics, his desire to improve the telescope. The 
difference can be seen from the fact that his scientific conclusions 
were correct, while in the matter of art he made the mistake 
of supposing that lenses could not be made free of chromatic 
aberration. 

As an art ministers to human purposes and these may change, the 
function of art may change too. Where ploughshares are abundant 
and swords scarce the industrial artist must find ways of converting 
ploughshares into swords. At another time he may have to do the 
opposite. Science regards each process at all times with equal interest 
as illustrating similar scientific laws. All facts within the purview of 
science are equally welcome and are just facts. But art discriminates 
between facts as desirable or undesirable, good or bad, right or 
wrong, useful or the reverse. Thus the art of engineering uses the 
notion of efficiency to distinguish a machine that is working well from 
one that is working badly. Because efficiency can be expressed by 
means of physical terms, it might be supposed to belong to the 
purely natural science of physics, whereas it is foreign to it. Effi- 
ciency may be defined as the useful work obtained from a machine 
divided by the total energy put into it. These are quantities of 
energy and energy is expressed in physical units, but the actual 
quantities stated are relative to a human purpose and would be 
meaningless apart from it ; these are, the quantity you get out that 
you consider useful for your purpose and the quantity you choose to 
put in. Efficiency is not always measured in terms of energy, if there 
is some other aspect of output and intake that is more interesting. 
The efficiency of a sawmill may be measured in terms of its output in 
square feet of sawn timber and its intake in terms of man-hours of 

5 



PHILOSOPHY 

labour. These are physical terms in a sense but in their case it is 
more easily seen that they are alien to a purely natural science. If 
science enters in, it will be a kind of social science. 

There is a branch of physical theory which deals with the prin- 
ciples of working of heat engines and their efficiency. It is not a 
natural science in the sense of the impartial study of a field of inde- 
pendent non-human facts. It is as near as physics can get to a social 
science, a study of human contrivances in terms of their fulfilment 
of human purposes. Notions derived from human purposes can be 
read into the natural world and the consequences then developeS 
scientifically. This is legitimate and necessary procedure, but has 
given rise to a widespread illusion, specially common among bio- 
logists, that the facts of purely natural science include or give rise 
to notions like efficiency, normality, adaptation, progress; and 
therefore that there is nothing about human purposes that is not 
derived from the natural world and not visible in a purely objective 
study of it. The truth is just the other way round. Human purpose is 
read into and taken up into the supposed neutral external objective 
world and embodied in sciences that are therefore not strictly 
natural but may be partly social. 

A confusion is very liable to arise too between art and science. As 
to this, you may ask, if it is granted that art and science are not 
easily distinguished and may be pursued together in one and the 
same art, as Newton's experiments with the prism were a study of 
the science of light and intended also to apply to the art of making 
lenses; if they are so closely linked, why distinguish? The answer is, 
they ought to be distinguished because the purposes are different in 
the two cases and may clash. Thus the physician at the bedside is 
both studying the disease (science) and trying to cure the patient 
(art). In pursuing his artistic purpose he must give the patient the 
best treatment he knows, in pursuing his scientific purpose he may 
require to do something else "to see what happens/' 

When the University of Oxford was founded, though I am told 
there is no precise or detailed information as to what happened on 
the occasion, it is fairly safe to assume that the University possessed 
three faculties: Medicine, Law and Theology. Medicine and Law are 
both social sciences and are two I propose to examine. It may be 
that theology is one also, but for the present the question can be left 
undecided ; it will be enough to consider tRe other two. In the Middle 
Ages the study of medicine was too haphazard and light-hearted an 
affair to be reckoned as genuine science, but in the past medicine 
had been studied scientifically and some residue of the tradition 
remained. Law on the other hand was studied as scientifically then as 
at any time, but it was no new science either. The scientific study of 
both began with the ancient Greeks who initiated all the sciences by 
6 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

the simple process of realizing that distinction between art and 
science I have been trying to indicate. Of course the arts of medicine 
and law are older still ; they are in fact coeval with human cililization 
of any sort. 

Since medicine deals with human bodies directly by physical 
means it is closer to the physical sciences than any other social 
science. The science of medicine is the study of human health and 
disease with a view to understanding them and discovering their 
causes. The art of medicine is the application of this knowledge to 
preserving health, getting rid of disease and mitigating its evil con- 
sequences when it occurs. Health is a state of mind as well as a state 
of body, but medicine is a physical science so far as it deals with the 
body. It is not a natural science. For a natural science, as I have 
said, all facts are alike and are chiefly valuable as illustrating general 
theory. A sick man is a fact illustrating some specific disease, a 
healthy man illustrates a different combination of conditions and 
absence of disease, that is all. For natural science there is nothing to 
suggest one ought to be converted into the other or which into 
which. There is no "ought" about it. Life and death, health and 
disease, well-being and pain are all distinguishable, but as facts are 
all on the same footing. The science of arithmetic tells us that four is 
a square number, five a prime number and five greater than four. It 
does not tell us that four is a better or worse number than five. Nor 
can the science of arithmetic tell us why we prefer to have five 
pennies in our pockets instead of four, but prefer to have four 
blisters on our feet instead of five. The judgments that life is pre- 
ferable to death and health to disease are moral judgments made in 
terms of human ends and do not belong to purely natural science. 
These judgments are so obvious that few people realize they make 
them or that it is possible to refrain from making them. A purely 
natural science of living organisms would just take note in passing 
of the difference between health and disease as of any other differ- 
ence; a social science is preoccupied with the difference and with the 
causes of the change from one to the other. 

Though medicine is a social science it is concerned with rather 
simple elementary social relations, that are easily understood and 
about which there is no serious difficulty or dispute. One is apt to 
think of health and disease in terms of the individual person or in 
terms of the exclusive relationship between physician and patient, 
though even that is a social relation. But one has only to consider 
infectious disease to see that it arises out of general social relations, 
even if they are social relations operating at a low level. Nevertheless, 
the general standard of health of a community depends upon how 
far public opinion about health is active and well-informed, upon the 
status and training of the medical profession and upon direct acts of 



PHILOSOPHY 

government; in short, upon the general standard of public order and 
of morals and intelligence. 

The close relationship of medicine to the physical sciences enables 
it to use their technique. The advance of medicine has depended on 
the advance of these ancillary sciences. The main principles which 
should guide the physician in treating disease were understood by 
Hippocrates, but the application of those principles had to wait the 
rise of physics, chemistry and biology. Medicine is also one of the 
few social sciences in which the full experimental method can be 
used, though its use is difficult, complicated and slow, as the causal 
relations involved are complicated and human feelings and desires 
are among them. A properly devised experiment for the study of a 
proposed method of treatment of a disease would be roughly as 
follows. Take a group of at least 100 people who differ as much as 
possible in every other respect but all suffer the disease in question. 
A large number of cases is needed to swamp chance variations and 
to allow statistical methods to be applied. Divide these people into 
two groups as nearly alike as possible. One is the experimental 
group to whom the treatment is to be given; the other the control 
group to whom no treatment is given. It is essential that all the 
subjects should suppose they are being treated alike. If anyone 
thinks he is in the experimental group he will be encouraged and tend 
to get better. Anyone who thinks he is in the control group will be 
proportionately discouraged. After a sufficient time compare the 
rate of recovery in the two groups. Most diseases are rather mild and 
most people recover from them in any case. In fact everybody re- 
covers from every disease except one, the one that kills him. There- 
fore treatment can at most produce more and more rapid recoveries. 
It will be seen that the experimental method is not easy or simple, 
but it can be used. 

As to the art of medicine, the end or purpose is simple, fixed, and 
known; it is to promote health, prolong life and relieve pain. As a 
rule the practitioner is not in any doubt. He does not say to himself 
as he starts out on his rounds, "I don't think I'll visit Smith today. 
It is true he is very ill but he is a rascal and bullies his wife. Perhaps 
Fd better visit Jones. There is nothing really seriously wrong with 
him and he should be up and about in a day or two; but he is a very 
good chap and if he should take a turn for the worse his death would 
be a much more serious loss to the community than old Smith, who 
can well be spared." Fortunately for his peace of mind the medical 
man does not need to consider moral problems of this kind. Usually 
the three ends I have enumerated are harmonious; whatever pro- 
motes health also prolongs life and relieves pain. Sometimes there is 
a clash. In some very painful illness, the practitioner may feel 
obliged to mitigate pain at the risk of impeding recovery or even 

8 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

hastening death. Sometimes he has to choose between safe treatment 
which will only partly restore health and a drastic one which may 
produce complete recovery but endangers the patient's life. These 
problems are not scientific but moral problems. The doctor's scien- 
tific knowledge provides material with which to form a judgment, 
namely the means available and chances of success or failure, but 
not the final judgment itself. He has to answer such a question as: is 
so much pain and prolongation of life worse or better than relief 
f^om pain and the probability of death? One doctor who believes 
that physical pain is the only evil and physical well-being the only 
good will have little difficulty in deciding, generally in favour of 
stopping pain. On the other hand another who believes that life on 
earth is a preparation for eternity will have more difficulty in de- 
ciding, as he is not just balancing pleasures against pains, and he 
may decide the opposite way. We can assume that the scientific 
information is the same for both of them, for the difference between 
the two decisions is not scientific, but moral. 

For the arts, facts are not all alike but there are some among them 
that can be changed for better or worse. Theory is an intellectual 
tool to be used, like material tools, to change them. The difficulty in 
practising an art is that theory has to be applied to the particular 
instance with incomplete knowledge of facts, which do not point 
unequivocally to one theoretical conclusion; while the theory is 
always too simple really to cope with the complexity of the concrete 
situation. 

Though the medical art, like any art, is concerned with the indivi- 
dual person and particular case rather than with groups or aggre- 
gates, its success has to be judged statistically by its effect on the 
whole population. It is only by statistical methods systematically 
used that successful treatment of A's appendicitis can be weighed 
against failure to deal with B's asthma. We are still only touching 
the fringe of public health statistics, but on the whole the attitude of 
the public and the medical profession is moving in the right direction. 

In principle it should be possible to apply the notion of efficiency 
to medicine, to measure output of healthy or cured persons against 
intake in terms of, say, medical man-hours. Actually this is not done 
because health is taken as an absolute end worth any cost and not as 
a relative or proximate enc\ to be balanced against cost. 

One last remark about medicine. It is too often assumed that the 
consequences of medical science and art are necessarily beneficent. 
They generally are but not necessarily nor in fact always. I need not 
remind you that the physician turned murderer is the most dan- 
gerous murderer. Any kind of knowledge can be misused by those 
who want to do so. I would rather draw your attention to an unin- 
tended and unforeseen consequence of the increase of medical 

9 



PHILOSOPHY 

knowledge during the last two hundred years, namely the large-scale 
and disastrous character of modern warfare, which is chiefly due to 
medical science, though other factors have operated also. Till to- 
wards the end of the i8th century wars had to be fought with small 
armies and campaigns had to be brief, partly because of purely 
mechanical hindrances, but chiefly because an army once collected 
died off quickly of epidemic disease and the larger the army the 
greater the death rate and the quicker it perished. The ambitions of 
military conquerors were once limited by ignorance of medicine, but 
now we have changed all that. There is no limit to the size of ah 
army or the length of a campaign. 

The second social science I would say something about is Law. 
Unlike the other sciences initiated by the Greeks it never had a long 
period of eclipse. It was the one aspect of Greek. science which 
appealed to the Romans and in which they improved upon their 
teachers. Under the Roman Empire and later in the Middle Ages 
law always attracted many of the best intellects. It has never gone 
uncultivated while there was any civilized life at all. Nevertheless, 
its progress has been very slow and it has never been as scientific as 
it ought to be. 

There is a popular belief that only a very clever man can he a 
mathematician or a physicist, while any fool can succeed at the 
social sciences. There could not be a greater or more disastrous 
fallacy. In principle the problems of mathematics and physics are 
simple. Newton said they were trivial, and he was in a position to 
judge. It is true these sciences have developed a formidable technique 
which is difficult to master. If the social sciences have no such 
elaborate technique that is their misfortune ; it makes their problems 
harder still compared with those of physics since technique is meant 
for solving problems by making them easier. The rapid development 
of medicine in recent years is largely due to the valuable technical 
tools the physical sciences have provided for it. Law enjoys no such 
advantages, but has always had to invent its own technique. More- 
over, its end or purpose is nothing like so simple, definite and fixed. 

The end of law has been defined as, keeping the peace and pre- 
venting or settling disputes. This seems sufficient and sounds fairly 
simple, but there are certain preconditions underlying peacefulness 
and absence of disputes that are more complicated. The first of these 
is Security: security of life: security in 'all beneficial and harmless 
pursuits or avocations: security in the possession and enjoyment of 
the means of life so far as beneficial and harmless. But second and 
not less important is Justice or Equity; namely, the fair or reason- 
able adjustment of mutual claims and responsibilties of the indivi- 
duals and associations or groups that constitute human society. 
Justice, as Aristotle said, is partly natural, partly conventional. 

10 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

Some of the rules and some aspects of all the rules are universal and 
never seriously disputed except by those who are or should be in 
lunatic asylums. Other parts are such that there can be different 
alternative rules between which choice is mainly arbitrary. The 
important thing there is to have a rule as simple, clear and definite 
as possible and to stick to it. 

Thus the total end of law is complex and not free of difficulty. 
There is plenty of opportunity for conflicting moral judgments and 
for doubt and dispute about them. For instance, how far does 
security extend and how is it to be procured ? In primitive societies 
law does not really give security in our modern sense and does not 
punish. Its function is to give public approval for the vengeance a 
man takes for wrongs to his person or property; provided the ven- 
geance is within reasonable limits, e.g. an eye for an eye or a tooth 
for a tooth. The lex talionis, which is an ingredient of most primitive 
codes, was a kind of justice and did provide some security against 
brutality and unlimited revenge. If A has knocked out B's tooth, 
B is entitled to go and knock out one of A's, but one only, not half 
a dozen. In civilized countries the law prohibits private vengeance 
and thereby gives greater security. Security of life and certain kinds 
of security of property have long been provided, but our notions of 
what constitutes the kind of security required are continually 
extending. 

The difficulties underlying the interpretation of justice are even 
greater. Justice, to quote Aristotle again, is a kind of equality as 
between equals but proportionately or reciprocity as between un- 
equals. The rule of equality is the simplest rule, where it can be 
applied. On the basis of equality one might say, "Equal pay for 
equal work/' or "Equal pay for equal needs," or "Equal pay for 
everybody." All are good rules, but if one operates neither of the 
others can. As long as people do different kinds of work and have 
different needs equality of one sort produces inequality of another 
sort. As between unequals how does the rule of proportionality work ? 
Robbery with violence is a worse crime than plain robbery. How 
much worse? If plain robbery deserves three years' imprisonment, 
how many years for robbery with violence ? Dentistry calls for more 
skill than plumbing, and plumbing than road cleaning. If pay is to 
be proportional to skill, how much should the exponents of these 
three trades receive? 

Questions of this sort all tend to be settled by custom and pre- 
cedent. This produces a kind of equality, namely that A is treated 
now as B and C were in the past. But this kind of equality is not 
always considered satisfactory. To quote Aristotle a third time, 
people desire what is good and not solely to adhere to the ways of 
their ancestors. 

II 



PHILOSOPHY 

The science and art of law are not easy to distinguish, but it may 
be worth while to try to do so, remembering that though both 
require understanding as well as action, in science action is for the 
sake of understanding, in art understanding is for the sake of action. 
The science of law seems to require three elements. First of all, 
factual historical study of human customs, habits, rules and institu- 
tions, so far as they are relevant to the ends already mentioned; 
keeping the peace and settling disputes. Secondly, since all human 
institutions subserve some purpose a judgment is required as to how 
far that purpose has been fulfilled and its value. This judgment on 
the historical record is as near as law can get to an experiment. If we 
find that following a change in criminal law there was an increase in 
one kind of crime and a decrease in another kind, we have obtained 
the kind of information that experiment provides. It is. less decisive 
because the course of human history is unique; there is no control 
observation showing what would have happened had the law not 
been altered. It must be remembered that if a law is altered delibe- 
rately experimentally, in order to see what happens, that in itself 
alters peoples' attitude to the change and is a complicating factor. 
An experiment on human relations is almost a self-contradiction 
because the experimenting process itself is one of the relations con- 
cerned. Even in the sphere of medicine there are genuine difficulties 
of this kind. It will be realized at once that this kind of factual 
study is difficult and has perhaps never been pursued with sufficient 
energy. 

Thirdly, there is theory, so far as it is possible. The final aim of 
theory would be the justification and the expression in definite 
formulae of the notion of a Natural or Rational Law; a universal 
standard in terms of which existing systems of law can be criticized; 
a law that is natural in the sense that it has to be found out and is 
not made by any arbitrary act of will and rational because it is not 
solely a fact of observation. In the meantime, theory consists of all 
those general principles and concepts that the lawyer makes use of 
in argument. The development of law as a science has been the 
clarification of these concepts and their gradual expansion to cover 
more adequately the complexities of the actual facts of human 
relations. 

I have been assuming that there is a rational moral law, a really 
"objective" standard of justice, at least partially embodied in some 
existing institutions. If it were true that the notion of justice merely 
reflects the class bias of those who exercise authority, the assump- 
tion would be false. But then there would be no genuine science of 
law (or any other genuine social science) yet conceived. A science 
cannot be based upon a purely hypothetical state of affairs contrary 
to the character of all past and present societies, in which nobody 
12 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

exercises authority and where everybody is free of bias. That is not 
to deny that bias and class prejudice create grave difficulties. 

As to the art of law I need say no more than that, like medicine, 
while it is concerned with the individual case, the test of its success 
or failure is to be obtained mainly from social statistics. It is only 
these that can show how far there really is peace and security and 
whether disputes are settled justly. It certainly has been a grave 
defect in the science and practice of law that too little attention has 
been paid to this study of facts; until the igth century really no 
attention at all. The success of criminal law is properly shown by the 
crimes that are not committed. Unfortunately, evidence of this 
negative sort is difficult to obtain and one has to be content to see 
whether crimes of a particular sort are tending to become less fre- 
quent or more frequent. Every crime committed means a bad mark 
against the law. A criminal convicted may go some way towards 
removing the bad mark, but only if we know that henceforth he is 
no longer a criminal. There is an old story, told against the medical 
profession, about the surgeon whose report on a case concluded: 
"The operation was completely successful. The patient died four 
hours later." But magistrates, judges and juries are doing the same 
kind of thing every day. All who are concerned with the conviction 
of criminals ought to consider it their special responsibility to see 
what happens to the criminal while serving his sentence and after- 
wards. When he is hanged it should be their duty to see it done. The 
ideal certainly is that judge, jury, public prosecutor and any others 
concerned should have personal first-hand knowledge of the working 
out of the law in actual fact. 

Tests of the success of criminal law are not so difficult to apply be- 
cause crime is a manifest fact. The success of civil law is very hard to 
discover at all. Absence of litigation is no safe guide. Men may refrain 
from litigation either because the law is so clear and definite that 
the aggrieved party has no difficulty in persuading the other party 
without recourse to the courts, or else because the law is so bad and 
uncertain or litigation so expensive that the aggrieved party prefers 
to suffer in silence. An increase in litigation on some subject may be 
due simply to a change in circumstances which raises new doubts 
and obscurities about claims and responsibilities; it may not indicate 
any failure of law. 

It is possible to judge in terms of the cases actually contested in 
court. Here the layman seeing that the process is cumbrous, slow, 
uncertain and costly, generally takes a pessimistic view. The lawyer 
sees valuable principles consistently upheld, obtains intellectual 
satisfaction from the learning and dialectical acumen displayed and 
takes an optimistic view. Neither judgment is really soundly based. 
In the meanwhile in the absence of any objective test and any 

13 



PHILOSOPHY 

properly ascertained body of fact, this aspect of law lacks full 
scientific development. 

Social statistics and those other social facts that form the raw 
material of history are the necessary basis for the full development of 
social science. The more there is of them the better. Yet by them- 
selves they do not constitute science. Unless they are organized with 
some purpose in view, as answers to explicit questions, they are no 
better than those snippets of information provided by some popular 
journals as that 15-32 per cent of the male population of Wigan 
has red hair; that the consumption of tripe in Huntingdonshire per 
head of population is the lowest for any English county; and so on. 
But social facts certainly are the indispensable raw material of 
social science. The kind of facts I have in mind include not only 
regular statistics which aim at being a complete record of what 
happens in an area, like the information embodied in birth and death 
rates, but also the sampling methods that have been introduced more 
recently; the surveys of conditions in a single region, or connected 
with a single trade ; the recording of the budget and general history 
of selected families before and after they have moved from one 
district to another; recording the careers of children after leaving a 
particular school; information obtained by the questionnaire method; 
even the haphazard methods of "Mass Observation" are of value. It 
is by the use and extension of all these methods that the raw material 
of social research can be obtained. 

I have selected Medicine and Law as instances to show that there 
are genuine social sciences actually in existence, from the character 
of which it is possible to judge of what a social science is like and 
what it can be expected to accomplish. They can be used to illustrate 
another point : that there may be a clash of purposes as between the 
pursuit of the art of medicine and that of law. It is one of the funda- 
mental rules of justice that no man shall be imprisoned tor more than 
a short time without trial and conviction of crime according to due 
form of law. But when it comes to quarantine regulations justice 
goes by the board and in the interests of public health people who 
are guilty of no crime or misdemeanour may be imprisoned for con- 
siderable periods. It is a mild form of it, but still it does often amount 
to imprisonment. Human ends are many and diverse and may be 
incompatible. If there is a clash we have to decide which is to prevail 
and which to give way. The decision is a moral one. The conflict is a 
moral conflict, not a conflict between two kinds of science, which 
would mean two incompatible kinds of truth. 

It is not my intention to try to enumerate all the social sciences, 
even supposing I knew how to do it ; nor do I claim that the classifi- 
cation of sciences as natural and social is exhaustive. My intention 
is only to indicate by examples the kind of thing a social science is. 

14 



SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN SOCIAL STUDIES 

There is, however, just one further example from another social 
science, economics, which I must mention. As long ago as the 4th 
century B.C. it was stated quite clearly by Aristotle and argued out 
by the author of a short dialogue, Eryxias, that money (gold and 
silver in those days) is not wealth. It is only a means for facilitating 
exchange. Wealth consists of useful commodities. Nobody, of course, 
acted on this scientific knowledge. Instead the universal superstition 
prevailed that money is wealth. In the i8th century thinkers pain- 
fully recovered the simple but forgotten truth. Now, 200 years later, 
it is beginning to sink in. Governments are beginning to make tenta- 
tive efforts to act upon it. Now for the first time in history there is a 
possibility that money may become what it ought to be, a useful 
tool, a labour-saving device; and not, as it has been, the capricious 
and cruel master of men's destinies. Everyone is concerned to some 
extent to practise the art of acquiring wealth, the material means of 
subsistence, but owing to universal ignorance of the science, it has 
been a highly destructive process. The defect has been primarily a 
confusion as to ends of action, and the mistaking of means for ends. 
It has been a defect in scientific knowledge, but one arising out of 
defect in moral insight and only to be cured by a moral revaluation, 
namely the realization of what is to be pursued for its own sake and 
what is not. 

In the igth century thinkers like Auguste Comte, Karl Marx and 
Herbert Spencer asked themselves whether scientific method could 
be applied to social relations and decided, quite correctly, that it 
could. But they seemed to think this was a new discovery and tried 
on the strength of it to initiate brand-new sciences of their own. In 
this they were not very successful. Further, if they thought they 
could produce a single comprehensive science of society they were 
probably mistaken. Certainly no such science has yet appeared. 
Instead we have a number of distinct social sciences; some very 
ancient, all very difficult and none in a position to produce anything 
very revolutionary all at once. In particular, there is uncertainty and 
confusion as to ends of action. There may even be complete moral 
blindness as an obstacle to progress. Medicine advances rapidly 
because its ends are simple and agreed upon, but chiefly because the 
physical sciences provide it with new tools. Law progresses very 
slowly but, if we are thinking in terms of periods of a thousand 
years, fairly steadily. A simple piece of economic knowledge familiar 
to the more intelligent ancient Greeks has taken more than 2,000 
years to produce any results. That is perhaps a measure of the rate 
of progress to be expected. 

I am reluctant to end on what may seem a pessimistic note, there- 
fore let me remind you that during the million years or so that men 
have inhabited this earth, they have been civilized in any sense at 

15 



PHIEOSOPHY 

all for a brief period of six or seven thousand years. For less than 
half that time have they had any sort of science. On any resonable 
estimate of the expectation of life of the human community our rate 
of progress is not altogether unsatisfactory, though disappointing to 
those who expect the millennium to arrive in a fortnight. 



16 



MARTIN BUBER'S <I AND THOU' 

HELEN WODEHOUSE. M.A., D.Phil. 



READING and re-reading the difficult and important small book 
/ and Thou, by Professor Martin Buber, which Mr. Ronald Gregor 
Smith has translated with so much care and skill, 1 and trying to 
make it clearer to myself in words of my own, I find myself at odds 
on the threshold with the translator's Introduction. He is explaining 
the title and the general theme of the book: 

"There is, Buber shows, a radical difference between a man's attitude to 
other men and his attitude to things. The attitude to other men is a relation 
between persons, to things it is a connexion with objects. In the personal 
relation one subject 7 confronts another subject Thou; in the connexion 
with things the subject contemplates and experiences an object. These two 
attitudes represent the basic twofold situation of human life, the former 
constituting the 'world of Thou,' and the latter the 'world of //' " (p, vi). 

Mr. Gregor Smith goes on to qualify his account by noting that 
we often treat our fellow-man as It, but he does not match this by 
any note that the TAow-relation may extend to things, and he uses 
"persons" and "personal" as keywords for it throughout. Yet in 
Buber's own treatment one is struck by the fact that this restriction 
does not hold. With some other writers to whom Mr. Gregor Smith 
refers Karl Heim and Professor MacMurray it does hold, and 
their doctrines are much simpler to expound. 

In attempting here some exposition of Buber's book and some 
commentary upon it, I am keenly aware of the difficulty of the task. 
As the translator truly says, the work "must be read more than 
once, and the total effect allowed to work on the mind. . . . For the 
argument is not as it were horizontal, but spiral; it mounts, and 
gathers within itself the aphoristic and pregnant utterances of the 
earlier part." I hope this may be borne in mind by any reader of 
this paper who has not himself read the book; otherwise the obscuri- 
ties of brief selections may unjustly repel him from that reading. 
All references are to the English translation, published by T. and T. 
Clark, printed 1937, reprinted 1942. * Here and there within brackets 
I shall insert the German from Ich und Du (Leipzig, 1923). 

1 Only a small proportion of Buber's work has yet appeared in English. 
A further selection translated by Dr. Greta Hort is shortly to be published 
by Melbourne University Press. Pp. xii, 120 33. 

B I? 



PHILOSOPHY 

Let me begin with a series of aphoristic paragraphs presented on 
p. 6, whose content is reiterated in a resume on p. 101. 

"As experience (Erfahrung) the world belongs to the primary word 
(Grundwort) I-It. 

The primary word I -Thou establishes the world of relation (Beziehung) . 

The spheres in which the world of relation arises are three. 

First, our life with nature. There the relation sways in gloom, beneath 
the level of speech. Creatures live and move over against us, but cannot come 
to us, and when we address them as Thou, our words cling to the threshold 
of speech. 

Second, our life with men. There the relation is open and in the form o c f 
speech. We can give and accept the Thou. 

Third, our life with intelligible forms (geistigen Wesenkeilen). There the 
relation is clouded, yet it discloses itself; it does not use speech, yet begets 
it. We perceive no Thou t but none the less we ieel we are addressed and we 
answer forming, thinking, acting. We speak the primary f word with our 
being, though we cannot utter Thou with our lips. 

But with what right do we draw what lies outside speech into relation 
with the world of the primary word ? 

In every sphere in its own way, through each process of becoming that is 
present to us we look out toward the fringe of the eternal Thou; in each we 
are aware of a breath from the eternal Thou; in each Thou we address the 
eternal Thou." 

Difficult as this passage is, the point I referred to seems to me 
to stand out. Although the description of the Thou relation, as 
Buber conceives it, is going to be easiest when the relation holds 
between human beings, he yet is guarding against the belief that it 
holds only there, and is claiming for it a range so wide as to cover 
everything that we meet. The first illustration he works out in 
detail (pp. 7-8) relates not to a human being but to a tree "no 
soul or dryad of the tree, but the tree itself." 1 The second illustra- 
tion relates to human beings. The third (p. 9) concerns "the eternal 
source of art : a man is faced by a form (Gestalt) which desires to 
be made through him into a work. This form is no offspring of his 
soul, but is an appearance which steps up to it and demands of it 
the effective power." 

It is true that "of the three spheres, one, our life with men, is 
marked out. . . . Here alone ... are gazing and being gazed upon, 
knowing and being known, loving and being loved. This is the main 
portal" (pp. 102-3). But the side-gates exist as welL It is true also, 
and central in Buber's teaching, that every I-Thou relation reaches 
beyond its prima facie form; that in each Thou we have touch with 
the eternal Thou. But these references seem to me everywhere 
intended to deepen and extend our understanding of the primarily 
apparent; not to remove the reality of this. The fellow-man whom 

1 This example is treated still more fully in his Daniel, published ten 
years earlier (1913). 

18 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 

we love does not cease to be Thou because we meet in him with 
more than himself; and the same must hold where the primary 
meeting takes place elsewhere than with fellow-men. 

The passage quoted in the last paragraph terminates as follows : 

'This is the main portal, into whose opening the two side-gates lead, and in 
which they are included. 

'When a man is together with his wife the longing of the eternal hills 
blows round about them.' 

The relation with man is the real simile of the relation with God; in it 
true address receives true response ; except that in God's response everything, 
the universe, is made manifest as language" (p. 103). 

Worlds interlock, and one is richer than the rest. But the passage 
as I understand it conforms to the spirit which I seem to find in 
the book as a whole claiming all three worlds, of Nature, of 
Thought, and of Man, as potential fields for the Thou. 



The claim is reinforced so far as Nature is concerned when the 
author connects his thought with the mana of the anthropologist. 
Let us take one such passage and make it a beginning for a further 
examination of what the I-Thou relation is. 

(Pp. 19-21) "The elementary impressions and emotional stirrings that 
waken the spirit of the 'natural man* proceed from incidents and from 
situations that are relational in character. He is not disquieted by the 
moon that he sees every night, till it comes bodily to him, sleeping or waking, 
draws near and charms him with silent movements, fascinates him with the 
evil or sweetness of its touch. ... At first he has in him only the dynamic, 
stirring image of the moon's effect, streaming through his body. . . . The 
appearances to which he ascribes the 'mystical power' are all elementary 
incidents that are relational in character, that is, all incidents that disturb 
him by stirring his body and leaving behind in him a stirring image. The 
moon and the dead, visiting him by night with pain or pleasure, have that 
power. But so, too, have the burning sun and the howling beast and the chief 
whose glance constrains him and the sorcerer whose singing loads him with 
power for the hunt. Mana is simply the effective force, that which has made 
the moon, up there in the heavens, into a blood-stirring Thou" 

This is crude ore, evidently; very different from some of the high 
and pure examples which Buber gives elsewhere. Yet he boldly 
presents it as an early form of the same thing. Some quality of the 
universe is speaking in these situations, and the man answers. Will 
it help us if we examine what is said of the kind of answer? Buber's 
recurrent expression (first on p. 3) is: "I-Thou can only be spoken 
with the whole being." I suppose this to mean the same kind of 
thing as when we say "with my whole heart." The man who responds 
thus is not crouching in fear, nor yet yielding in spite of himself 



PHILOSOPHY 

to a fascination; he has stood, and faced, and chosen. He may have 
to overrule some faintness or some rebellion within him whole- 
heartedness in mortals cannot be flawless but his ruling principle 
is in charge; his act stands for his integrity. He has seen greatness, 
however strange its kind, and he has greeted it. 

Let us turn next to a different illustration, where the human being 
takes the initiative. "The primal nature of the effort to establish 
relation," writes Buber, "is already to be seen in the earliest and 
most confined stage 1 ': in early infancy. 

(Pp. 26*8) "Before anything isolated can be perceived, timid glances move 
out into indistinct space, towards something indefinite; and in times when 
there seems to be no desire for nourishment, hands sketch delicately and 
dimly in the empty air, apparently aimlessly seeking and reaching out to 

meet something indefinite These very glances will after protracted attempts 

settle on the red carpet-pattern and not be moved till the soul of the red has 
opened itself to them; and this very movement of the hands will win from 
a woolly Teddy-bear its precise form, apparent to the senses, and become 
lovingly and unforgettably aware of a complete body. . . . (This 'fancy* 
does not in the least involve ... a 'giving of life to the universe' : it is the 
instinct to make everything into Thou. ...)... It is simply not the case 
that the child first perceives an object, then, as it were, puts himself in rela- 
tion with it. But the effort to establish relation comes first the hand of 
the child arched out so that what is over against him may nestle under it; 
second is the actual relation, a saying of Thou without words. ... In the 
beginning is relation as category of being, readiness, grasping form, mould 
for the soul; it is the a priori of relation, the inborn Thou." 1 

The Thou that we meet in mana says to us, Can you stand and 
meet me? The Thou that the baby finds in his exploring has said 
to him, I am here! come. But there is relation for him elsewhere 
which needs no approach; where love in his mother's arms is saying 
all round him, Here we are, my Dear. Should we not recognise the 
existence of such beginnings even within the animal world? Buber 
has depicted (pp. 97-8) an animal faced with a situation just beyond 
its capacity: the master looks into his cat's eyes while his own 
heart and mind say Thou to it, and he thinks for a moment that a 
response is given. 'The bright Thou appeared and was gone. . . . 
The animal had sunk back out of the stammer of its glance into the 
disquietude where there is no speech and almost no memory/' But 
there is no stammering, surely, when cat and kitten are saying 
Thou to each other. 

Once more, let us take a different point in the account of baby- 
hood, and develop it into what it becomes for the grown human 

* The last phrase surely is wrong. The a priori of relation cannot be a 
Thou; it must be an I -Thou. It is "inborn" neither in the person nor in 
the thing, but in the whole situation. Cf. Grimm's No. i interpretation of 
eingeboren: "im Lande, im Ort geboren, indigena." (Deutsches Wtirterbuch, 
III (1862), p. 185.) I owe this reference to Dr. Else Jaffe. 

20 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 

being. (Pp. 27-8) "The instinct to make contact . . . ever more 
clearly turns out to mean mutual relation, 'tenderness 1 . But the 
instinct to 'creation/ which is established later (that is, the instinct 
to set up things in a synthetic, or, if that is impossible, an analytic 
way through pulling to pieces or tearing up) is also determined by 
this inborn Thou." Is not this a foreshadowing not only of the 
work of the artist, but also of a kind of work which Buber does not 
explicitly speak of in connection with I-Thou that of the scholar, 
the man of science, the philosopher? Professor Buber himself, 
writing such a book as this, must have known keenly the situation 
in which some feature of reality, dimly seen, stands over against us, 
and we have to stare and grope and wrestle to grasp it, while 
it seems to invite and evade at the same time. We have to achieve 
taking it to pieces and setting it up; to render it somehow in words 
and to make tile words worthy of it ; to translate and interpret and 
make it transparent to men's understanding, including our own. 
To the strivings of the truth-seeker and the truth-teller, the same 
account can be applied that Buber gives when he speaks (pp. 9-10, 
14) of the artist and the forms which "step up to his soul" and lay 
their demands upon it : 

(P. 14) "The form becomes the work. Through the meeting that which 
confronts me is fulfilled, and enters the world of things. ... It is 'embodied 1 ; 
its body emerges from the flow of the spaceless, timeless present on the shore 
of existence." 1 

Here, then, are several examples of the dealings of / with Thou. 
How shall we describe them? Summoning courage or turning in 
tenderness or labouring in concentration, we are greeting reality and 
joining hands with it. At this point and at that point and all round 
us the universe speaks, and, so far as in us lies, we give our whole 
heart to the answer. Under the It connection we may deal from the 
surface of ourselves with the surface of things, but here the speaking 
and the answer alike come from the depths. Buber depicts the 
intensity of such moments, as the poet in him feels them. In man's 
ordinary commonplace attitude (p. 31) "he perceives things and 
events ... an ordered and detached world ... a reliable world. ..." 

(Pp. 32-3) "You cannot hold on to life without it, its reliability sustains 
you; but should you die in it, your grave would be in nothingness." But 
with I-Thou "man meets what* exists and becomes as what is over against 
him, always simply a single being. . . . What exists is opened to him. . . . 
The world- which appears to you in this way is unreliable . . . ; you cannot 
hold it to its word. ... It comes, and comes to bring you out; if it does not 
reach you, meet you, then it vanishes; but it comes back in another form. 



For a closer study of the process, see Buber, pp. 17, 41, or my p. 19. 

21 



PHILOSOPHY 

It is not outside you, it stirs in the depth of you ; if you say 'Soul of my sou] 
you have not said too much. But guard against wishing to remove it into 
your soul for then you annihilate it. ... Between you and it there is mutual 
giving. . . . You cannot make yourself understood with others concerning 
it, you are alone with it. But it teaches you to meet others, and to hold your 
ground when you meet them. Through the graciousness of its comings and 
the solemn sadness of its goings it leads you away to the Thou in which the 
parallel lines of relations meet. It does not help to sustain you in life, it only 
helps you to glimpse eternity." 1 

. . . "Guard against wishing to remove it into your soul. 11 Whether 
in the ultimate touch with the Eternal or in the prima facie meeting 
with the particular Thou, the centre of gravity must fall outside 
ourselves. In an early work Buber coined the name Zwischenmen- 
schlichkeit for the subject-matter of such studies as economics and 
sociology. 2 This idea of betweenness, in a deepened form, serves him 
well now. Throughout this book he wages war simultaneously 
against two differently defective ways of life: empty mechanical 
activity and sentimental egoism. The first leaves the heart out of 
living; the driving power of habit or the fever of ambition supplying 
its place. The surface of the man, or one obsessed part of him, deals 
with the surface of things. The second never gets beyond its private 
boundary. Feelings revolve on themselves and are savoured, without 
ever passing in action into the stream of the world's common life. 
But man must give himself away, Buber urges; he must lose his 
life if he is to save it; he must plunge into the fire of reality. The 
Spirit dwells in that which goes on between him and his fellows; 
and, as truly though less clearly, it dwells between him and Nature, 
and between him and the Idea which seeks his service. With all our 
heart and will, we must enter into relation. 

"In the beginning," we quoted just now from p. 27, "is relation 
as category of being, readiness, grasping form, mould for the 
soul." In one sense of existence the relationship does not exist 
until we have entered into it, but in another sense it was there 
already, waiting to be "realised." "Relation is mutual"3 Beziehung 

Cf. a letter by R. L. Nettleship (May 1889) (Remains, vol. I, p. 94). "I 
feel more and more the horrible contrast between rare moments and my 
average level of achievement. I know it is only a man's self that realises this: 
to the outsider you look much of a piece. ... I do believe that the moments 
are the things that give one what is best, and that they don't really pass, 
however much one may fall away from them. In the greater part of life it 
seems as if one must consent to be wrapped round with custom; but the 
naked touch of reality, when it does come, is like flame through the veins, 
and each time it comes it leaves the blood running a little quicker." 

In re-reading Nettleship's Letters (op. cit.), I have been surprised by the 
number of resemblances between his thought and Buber's, different as the 
tone and temperament are. 

a See Hans Kohn, Martin Buber, sein Werk und seine Zeit. (1930), p. 89. 

3 P. 8 and elsewhere. 

22 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 

ist Gegenseitigkeit even a tree can stand aver against me as an 
equal, with its own rights and dignities and claims. Then the a priori 
of relationship, taking possession of us, flows into effect ; into good 
works prepared for us to walk in. In art (p. 14), the potential form 
of beauty which dawned upon my soul is now to be fulfilled through 
my labours and to enter the world of things. In relationship with 
men, the love which is "responsibility of an / for a Thoti" (p. 15) 
is to pass into the practical effectiveness of helping, healing, saving. 
Clearly this might happen also in the third department our 
relationship with the non-human. To "care for" an animal or a 
plant or a house has the double meaning. But "the creature and our 
contemplation of it" (p. 15) suggests that the author may also have 
in mind an extension of his thought about art. The tree that we truly 
contemplate, says the sage in Daniel, is transplanted from the earth 
of space into the earth of the soul. Taken into the human mind that 
is quiet and sensitive and opened to receive it, revealing all its 
qualities and beauties for the first time in that clear air, may we 
not say that a tree enters on a new range of its life ? and that the 
dance of the electrons or the first making of this planet, when a true 
student comes to know it, can do the same? Not only humanity 
everywhere, but Being everywhere is received in the I-Thou relation 
as an end and not merely as a means. 

The existence in actuality of Beauty, and Love, and reverent 
Knowledge, is the latent Thou-relationship coming alive. Our entry 
into its reality, and that reality's entry into the life of time and 
space, are the two sides of the same happening: the worlds press 
into each other. This is life in the Spirit: spirit not shut inside us 
but outside and "between"; "not like the blood that circulates in 
you, but like the air in which you breathe" (p. 39). "Man lives in 
the spirit, if he is able to respond to his Thou. He is able to, if he 
enters into relation with his whole being." 

NOTE. This may be the best place to examine in passing the position 
with regard to "betweenness" of the other primary word, "I-It," in which 
"Man travels over (befdhrt) the surface of things and experiences (erfdhrt) 
them." (p. 5) In a single passage at the bottom of p. 5 Buber declares that 
in this connexion it is 'in him' and not between him and the world that the 
experience arises/' Die Erfahrung ist ja "in ihm" und nicht zwischen ihm und 
der Welt. Therefore, "The man who experiences has no part in the world/' 
and "The world has no part in the experience. It permits itself to be experi- 
enced, but has no concern in tlie matter. For it does nothing to the experience, 
and the experience does nothing to it." 

I take the main purport of this passage to be the casualness, so to speak, 
rf the I-It connexion as contrasted with the interpenetration and interlocking 
which characterise I -Thou. The sentence denying betweenness seems to me 
to be unnecessary for this purpose and unjustified in fact. When a man 
is investigating or utilisirg a thing as a means, this is still an affair between 
him and the object; a waiting potentiality coming into life. The connexion 



PHILOSOPHY 

docs not go deep into either term; it is easily entered and left; but it is there. 
I-It is a "word of separation" (p. 23); it preserves independence and detach- 
ment between its terms; but the detachment is structural and positive; a 
stress holding them apart while it unites them. Rightly, on p. 43, it is said 
to "hold off" the I and the It from one another. 

Hence, if the sentence quoted was really intended to deny betweenness, 
I think it was a passing mistake and should be ignored. Similarly when 
on pp. 43-4 Buber deals with institutions and personal feelings which slip 
out of touch, and points the contrast by calling the former "the province 
of //" and the latter "the province of /," we need to observe that each of 
them must be a distortion of the whole I-It. An I, noisy or tinkling, is stil} 
working inside the first province, and an It, contracted and abortive, is 
exploited inside the other. 

In other important passages the descriptions on pp. 47-50 for instance, 
with their "structure" and "machinery" the picture is obviously one of 
Zwischenmenschlichkeit. 



By this time it has become apparent that the Thou may be more 
like a world than like a separated individual thing. In the baby's 
meetings with strangeness and with love this is so from the begin- 
ning. And wherever the I-Thou relation comes to life, if it does not 
already involve a world, a world will begin to form round it. I may 
begin by saying Thou to a special person, but with that saying I 
make myself member of an organic whole, and the whole irresistibly 
rounds itself out. In part the first relationship dictates further 
relationship: "I care for this because my friend cares for it;" and 
in part the process is direct: "I care for this because my eyes and 
ears have been opened." What spoke to me first in my friend can 
now speak elsewhere, and I can answer it because the power of 
answering has been awakened in me. 

Thus when Buber contrasts the poverty of "I" in the individual 
who stresses his separateness, with the richness of the person-in- 
relation, what the illustrations give us is the membership of a 
world : 

(Pp. 65-6) "How lovely and how fitting the sound of the lively and 
impressive / of Socrates! . . . This / lived continually in the relation with 
man which is bodied forth in dialogue. It never ceased to believe in the reality 
of men, and went out to meet them. So it took its stand with them in reality, 
and reality forsakes it no more. Its very loneliness can never be forsaken- 
ness, and if the voice of man is silent it heajrs the voice of the daimonion 
say Thou. 

How lovely and how legitimate the sound of the full / of Goethe! It is 
the I of pure intercourse with nature. ... It believes in her, and says to the 
rose, 'Then thou art it' then it takes its stand with it in a single reality. 
So the spirit of the real remains with it when it turns back to itself, the 
gaze of the sun abides with the blessed eye that considers its own radiance, 
and the friendship of the elements accompanies the man into the stillness 
of dying and becoming." 

24 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 
Or to take a passage from which we have quoted already: 

(P. 15) "In the eyes of him who takes his stand in love, and gazes out 
of it, men are cut free from their entanglement. . . . Good people and evil, 
wise and foolish, beautiful and ugly, become successively real to him; that 
is, set free they step forth in their singleness, and confront him as Thou. 
. . . Love is responsibility of an / for a Thou. In this lies the likeness ... of 
all who love, . . . from the blessedly protected man, whose life is rounded 
in that of a loved being, to him who is all his life nailed to the cross of the 
world, and who ventures to bring himself to the dreadful point to love 

all men/' 1 



This is the height, is it not, of St. Paul's Agapd, and we may as 
well import that word. Weak as we are, yet within our range and 
at our best every one of us has had some knowledge of what it 
means to be friends with Being. This may perhaps be brought home 
most clearly if we think of the opposite condition. We get out of 
bed on the wrong side, and quarrel not merely with our housemates 
but with dishes and chairs and tables, with tasks and pleasures that 
confront us, with events that come by chance, with the laws of man 
and the laws of Nature, with the future and the past. For us at 
such a time the devil is in all of them because he has possession of 
ourselves. But in contrast at our best we know that there is nothing, 
in principle, with which we might not enter into relation if we 
were good enough; nothing in the universe which we might not 
meet with some form of Agape. We could bring all our relevant 
potentialities to meet the potentialities of the moment, joining 
with it to produce greatness. We could recognise "the deed that 
aims at me" (p. 53), and give it existence. 

"The free man is he who wills without arbitrary self-will. , . . He listens 
... to the course of being in the world; not in order to be supported by it, 
but in order to bring it to reality as it desires, in its need of him, to be brought 
with human spirit and deed, human life and death" (pp. 59-60). 

The common question, "Can we believe that the universe is our 
friend?" is not a question that belongs to the sphere of religion. 
We enter that sphere when we take our own stand in friendship 
towards the universe. Thereafter there remain to be explored the 
fruits that can come of that spirit. 

4 

If I may express a complicated judgment, there seem to be some 

factors in this little book that tend to leave an impression which 
the author himself is always working to correct. Our memory pre- 

1 Karl Heim, to whom Mr. Gregor Smith refers (p. viii), conceives the 
[-Thou relation very differently, as essentially involving opposition and 
'atemraubende Enge." The fellowship of wills does not typify his I-Thou 
but cancels it. (See God Transcendent, pp. 165-6.) 

25 



PHILOSOPHY 

serves his novel and subtle descriptions of moments of vivid aware- 
ness moments that are discontinuous and vanish quickly whilst 
losing hold of the fact that what he is centrally trying to expound 
is something solid and continuous; the very strength of our life. 
Again, he will show the soul as it were holding its breath: "Only 
silence before the Thou silence of all tongues, silent patience in 
the undivided word that precedes the formed and vocal response 
leaves the Thou free, and permits man to take his stand with it 
in the reserve where the spirit is not manifest, but is. Every response 
binds up the Thou in the world of It" (p. 39). We remember this* 
but it is a chief purpose of this book to show that the momentary 
stillness must become an enduring stability by passing into move* 
ment: that "All revelation is summons and sending" (p. 115). 

With these thoughts in mind, let us examine more closely the 
position of the second "primary word/ 1 the I-It, in a "related" 
world. What will be the standing of It, or what should be its standing, 
when the I has found its Thou? The first impression, here again, 
may be somewhat misleading, for we may carry away the idea that 
the It-connexion is merely a mark of our imperfection, to be 
regretted : 

"This is the exalted melancholy of our fate, that every Thou in our word 
must become an //. It does not matter how exclusively present the Thou 
was in the direct relation. As soon as the relation has been worked out or 
has been permeated with a means, the Thou becomes an object among 
objects" (pp. 16-17). 

But when, according to his custom, Buber reiterates that passage 
in a different form on a subsequent page, the difference throws a 
further light : 

"Every response binds up the Thou in the world of 77. That is the melan- 
choly of man, and his greatness. For that is how knowledge comes about, a 
work is achieved, and image and symbol made, in the midst of living beings 
(PP- 39-40-) 

While here is a fine passage from the final pages of the book: 

(114-15) "Pure relation can only be raised to constancy in space and 
time by being embodied in the whole stuff of life. It cannot be preserved, but 
only proved true, 1 only done, only done up into life. . . . Thus the time of 
human life is shaped into a fulness of reality, and even though human life 
neither can nor ought to overcome the relation of //,* it is so penetrated with 
relations that relation wins in it a shining streaming constancy: the moments 
of supreme meeting are then not flashes in darkness, but like the rising moon, 
in a clear starlit night." 

Now this passage seems to imply a very important point which 
the earlier metaphors (of two attitudes, or two primary words, or 

x Nicht bewahrt, nur bewdhrt. * Esverhdltnis. 3 Beziehung. 

26 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 

chrysalis-and-butterfly) may tend to disguise from us, and which 
for a long time I missed myself. It appears now that the I-It and 
the I-Thou are not incompatibles, but may exist, and should exist, 
together; and may exist simultaneously even with regard to the 
same thing. 

But this will mean that the It connection in its essence need not 
arise, as we may have thought, from lack of insight or from dis- 
regard, or from the collapse of life into the commonplace. It is 
something which ought not to be overcome, When Spirit is at its 
highest and fullest the I-It will still remain. 

Re-reading earlier pages with this point in mind, we find other 
passages which confirm it. On p. 46, for instance, 'The primary 
word I-It is not of evil as matter is not of evil." Only "If a man 
lets it have the mastery, the continually growing world of It over- 
runs him and robs him of the reality of his own /, till the incubus 
over him and the ghost within him whisper to one another the 
confession of their non-salvation." Similarly on p. 48: 

"The communal life of man can no more than man himself dispense with 
the world of It, over which the presence of the Thou moves like the spirit upon 
the face of the waters. Man's will to profit and to be powerful have their 
natural and proper effect so long as they are linked with, and upheld by, his 
will to enter into relation. . . . The impulse which is bound up with, and 
defined by, the being is the living stuff of communal life. ..." 

We conclude, then, that in Buber's central doctrine the I-It 
"word" is not deprecatory or privative, but stands for a positive 
connection of surfaces which may and should work side by side with 
relation in the depths. Its essence is a handling of the object not 
necessarily without its will but irrespectively of its will, in the 
service of something which may lie outside it. In the right and 
ordinary situation, this something outside it will be simply the Thou 
seen elsewhere. In the life of the good citizen, the "will to profit and 
to be powerful" (Nutzwillen und Machtwillen) is penetrated with 
and enclosed by relatedness. His profit makes a living for wife and 
children, or at the least is felt as the sign of his making good; earning 
a place in the story. His power includes his increasing skill in his 
work, or it brings things about which speak to him as being in 
themselves worthwhile. Only if we suppose the Thou to be entirely 
absent (I think it is impossible), then, indeed, the man's grave not 
only will be but already is ''in nothingness". 

For man's limited mind, of course, most of existent Being is 
neither Thou nor It he does not meet it at all. But if a content 
enters his world even as It, there is the chance of its becoming Thou 
also. His tool, for the true craftsman, becomes his fellow and his 
friend. When all goes well his material speaks to him, desiring to 
become what he desires to make it. The housewife tends her house 

27 



PHILOSOPHY 

"I'm going to spend the morning/' said a friend to me, "with the 
floor, talking to it" and presently the floor presents its own shining 
gift to a room which makes part of a comely household life. Or we 
may have the opposite case of something which began by being 
Thou and goes through a stage of being predominantly It, to be 
known as Thou some day again. An illustration to which Buber 
recurs is that of analytic study. The subject of study may be a work 
of art (as on pp. 17, 41), or it might be the personality of a friend. 
At first we are bound up in relation with it, but when we become 
absorbed in analysis the subject becomes our means and our material 
and that stage must be honestly worked through if the Thou is to 
return with fuller being. "Scientific and aesthetic understanding 
... are necessary to man that he may do his work with precision 
and plunge it in the truth of relation, which is aboye the under- 
standing and gathers it up in itself/' 1 

Neither Grundwort can ever be dispensed with. We conceive a 
city and build it, and we use in its building the workmen and the 
products of the earth, and the architect's design and the landscape 
in which it is to grow. Any one of these, in principle, could itself 
become Thou, glowing into life if only for a moment. Every one of 
them should be so potentially Thou that the implicit relation should 
exert a steady unnoticed pressure upon us, restraining us from 
inflicting unnecessary damage and warning us when we risk doing 
so. The advance of civilisation rests upon the growth of such sensi- 
tiveness within our resolution. With its increase we have learnt to 
perceive amongst other things that one of the worst kinds of damage 
is prolonged unemployment; the prevention of a potential Thou 
from finding completion by becoming part of It. That profound 
need reaches far beyond the economic system. In the service of 
their Thou men will seek to bind themselves; taking on some yoke 
which will get work done in the intervals when resolution and 
awareness fail. Men in relation with their supreme Thou have prayed 
to become It: "to be unto God what his own hand is to a man/' 
They ask God, once for all, not to wait for their consent. 

If we can be It as well as Thou for God, can God also be It for us ? 
not only be misrepresented under that form, but actually be so? 

1 Cf. E. M. Forster's Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, pp. 203-4, where the 
author speaks of Dickinson's "loyal and affectionate tribute" to J. E. McTag- 
gart (as the latter's biographer). "He was not well satisfied with it. ... The 
complexity of his own emotions may have confused him. His intense admira- 
tion for McTaggart, their war differences (which McTaggart chose to regard 
as mystically non-existent), and their tacit reunion after the war did not 
make for literary detachment. McTaggart was a remarkable figure, possibly 
a great man, certainly a very strange one, and, biographically speaking, such 
a man needs rather ruthless handling if he is to come alive. Dickinson only 
brought sensitiveness and piety." 

28 



MARTIN BUBER'S 'I AND THOU' 

Buber speaks repeatedly of "the Thou that by its nature cannot 
become It"\ yet in accordance with our nature, he says (112) "we 
are continually making the eternal Thou into It, into some thing. 
. . . Not indeed out of arbitrary self-will. ..." The truth seems to 
be that we have never found God, recognised and greeted and wor- 
shipped Him, until we have said Thou. But side by side with this 
(I suggest), as well as when this recognition fails, he may be It, and 
is so. As all perfections are his, so amongst them is the perfection of 
It. He is all the truth that we can find and explain, and all that waits 
to be found. He is the sunshine that falls on the unjust ; the steadi- 
ness of the round world; the reliability that we need not think 
about. If I seek only for use and profit I shall never find God, but 
he will be there, he will be used, he will be profitable. He will 
serve me so far as I am able to be served, being blind. 



"In each Thou we address the eternal Thou" the saying of Thou 
anywhere is a finding of God. The thought fits well with the teach- 
ings of Chassidism; that movement amongst Eastern European 
Jews of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the sympathetic 
study of which has made so large a part of Dr. Buber's lifework. 
The glory of God, said the Chassidists, was poured out in the begin- 
ning over weak vessels that broke and could not hold it ; but every 
fragment still retains a spark of that divinity, and the Presence of 
God goes into exile with these sparks, and man co-operates with it 
to bring them back into manifestation and into reunion with the 
one Light from which they came. A saint may convert a sinner, or 
a wife may prepare savoury food and her husband may eat it with 
enjoyment and thankfulness; in either case a spark has been released 
and its destiny fulfilled. To add our own examples: the tree and the 
moon and the poet's thought, the beloved household and the smoothly 
organised work and the great city, and the art and science that 
uphold and adorn them, and all the world that we know, in so far 
as it is rightly known, and served and worked with, and faced and 
greeted with the whole heart all these blend in the Kingdom and 
the Power and the Glory. 

In this book and in the Bother parts of Buber's work which I have 
read, I have not been able to decide whether his theology assigns a 
special centre of consciousness to God, as a Person apart, or whether 
it is enough that God should think with our minds as he can speak 
with our mouths, and that he should be the principle of all father- 
hood and the fountain of all spirit ; and that he should be (to take 
Buber's favourite thought) that which speaks to us anywhere, and 
that by which we answer: the eternal Word. I am sure that those 

29 



PHILOSOPHY 

who use this kind of theology are not excluded from the essentials 
of Buber's teaching: 

(107) "The bright building of community ... is the achievement of the 
same power that works in the relation between man and God. This does not 
mean that this one relation is set beside the others; for it is the universal 
relation, into which all streams pour. . . . Who wishes to make division and 
define boundaries between sea and streams ? There we find only the one flow 
from I to Thou, unending, the one boundless flow of the real life. Life cannot 
be divided between a real relation with God and an unreal relation of / and 
It with the world. . . . He who knows the world as something by which he is 
to profit knows God also in the same way. His prayer is a procedure of 
exoneration heard by the ear of the void. He not the 'atheist/ who addresses 
the Nameless out of the night and yearning of his garret-window is the 
godless man." 

Cancelling all the separate spheres of pietism, the access through 
the temporal to the eternal must complete its rhythm in the returning 
movement, flowing back into earthly understanding and affection 
and service: 

(78-80) "He who enters on the absolute relation is concerned with nothing 
isolated any more. ... To step into pure relation is ... to see everything in 
the Thou, not to renounce the world but to establish it on its true basis. , . . 
To include nothing beside God but everything in Him this is full and com- 
plete relation. 

He who goes out with his whole being to meet his Thou and carries to it 
all being that is in the world, finds Him who cannot be sought. . . . Waiting, 
not seeking, he goes his way; hence he is composed before all things, and 
makes contact with them which helps them. But when he has found, his 
heart is not turned from them, though everything now meets him in the one 
event. He blesses every cell that sheltered him, and every cell into which 
he will yet turn. For this finding is not the end, but only the eternal middle, 
of the way." 



MIND IN NATURE 

HILDA D. OAKELEY, D.LITT. 

In the idealistic movement of the late nineteenth and early 
twentieth centuries, British philosophy under Hegelian influence 
endeavoured to demonstrate the rationality of the universe 
as based on logical construction. The keynote of the Hegelian 
dialectic, as interpreted by both F. H. Bradley and J. E. 
McTaggart is that the mind is there from the first. In the 
advance from.the bare abstraction of Being to the fully concrete 
whole "Before the mind there is a single conception, but the 
whole mind itself which does not appear, engages in the process, 
operates on the datum, and produces the result/' 1 The idea 
expressed by poetry in Tennyson's "Flower in the crannied 
wall, 1 ' which as the mind is fixed upon it reveals in an expansion 
to the universe the nature of God and Man, illustrates in a simple 
way the central philosophic conception of the British metaphysical 
idealists. Poetry could overlook the hard struggle of the little 
plant to keep its foothold against crowding competitors. Philosophy 
was perhaps too oblivious of this in its compelling postulate of 
the all pervading unity in which every difference and seeming 
contradiction would be reconciled. 

From the opposite end of investigation and theory a few students 
of science were finding in nature traces of mind in some form or 
degree. This might seem to be a strong support of idealist or 
immaterialist views. It has to be considered, however, whether 
one and the same conception of mind is present in the two inter- 
pretations, and whether the definite particularistic methods of 
the scientific student, can contribute to the enthronement of Mind 
as the universal essence and reality of the whole of things. Their 
conclusions may nevertheless be allowed to have distant affinities 
with any theory that would render complete materialism unten- 
able. The philosophic interest of their methods, lies in the fact 
that they do not bring with them to nature the postulate that 
mind must pervade all thihgs, but are led or driven by the facts 
observed to take note of its seeming presence. The metaphysical 
idealists were not, so far as appears, especially interested in the 
creatures of nature below the human order. There are more things 
in nature than are dreamed of in their philosophy. There may be 

> Bradley, (Logic III, I, ii) quoted by McTaggart, Studies in Hegelian 
Dialectic. 

3* 



PHILOSOPHY 

more kinds of intelligence than are discovered by the most pro- 
found student of the human mind. These are not found by specu- 
lation as to what must be the structure of a universe dominated 
by mind. The necessary clues to animal intelligence are only 
reached, if at all, by the most devoted and unwearied observation. 
Philosophy has too much neglected this field of study. In the 
case of the idealist this has been mainly due to the fixed assump- 
tion, applied in all provinces, that the manifestation of mind must 
be universal in the principles of things, expressing a rational or 
logical order. Human reason, at its present stage, is no longer taken 
as exhibiting the culminating and final form of mental activity. 
Certainly the thinkers who lived in the full tide of biological 
evolutionary ideas, accepted the view that the human brain as 
we know it might evolve into forms furnishing a Better basis for 
a higher mind. But this view did not affect their conceptions of 
the essential nature of mind as such. Attacks of some recent 
thinkers on long established and authoritative views of the nature 
of logic, do not seem to have much affected the strength of the 
citadels from which metaphysical idealism proceeds. But there is 
little direct conflict. The opposed theories are too remote from 
each other even to meet in battle. When the "Logical Analysis of 
Syntax" reaches the conclusion that "Everyone is at liberty to 
build up his own logic as he wishes/' 1 opposition is paralysed by 
the absence of any common ground in respect to the nature of 
logic. 

If the spirit of idealistic thinkers has been dogmatic we may 
find a counter-balancing dogmatism in some of the chief writings 
of natural science. What is the view of the empirical sciences in 
regard to the presence of mind in the individuals of nature? 
According to the eminent physiologist Professor Sherrington "In 
relation to the particular field of chemistry and physics, which 
is that of highly integrated animal lives, thinking appears as a 
phase of living." He adds: "It is an activity of life selectivity, and 
uniquely apart from the rest." But "Natural science repudiates 
it as something outside its ken. A radical distinction has, therefore, 
arisen between life and mind. The former is an affair of chemistry 
and physics; the latter escapes chemistry and physics."* He 
observes that whilst the standpoint of physics appears to be under- 
going modifications under the influence of recent developments, 
the strictly materialistic view is still dominant in biology. "Science 
fails us if we ask for a form of energy which is mental." If the 
student of energy is asked concerning mind, i.e. thoughts and 
feelings, he will reply: "They are the outcome of the brain. The 

The Logical Analysis of Syntax, Rudolf Caxnap. 
a Man on His Nature, Chap. ix. 

32 



MIND IN NATURE 

brain is matter and energy, therefore thoughts and feelings are 
matter and energy. MI Sherrington examines cases of exceedingly 
elaborate behaviour in certain insect pests in the attempt to 
determine their nature and whether intelligence must be admitted. 
Describing the course of behaviour of the insect which produces 
sheep-rot, after propagating itself in many millions in the body 
of a snail, later devoured in the moist grass by a sheep, and of 
the anopheles-guat, mosquito parasite, cause of malaria, he 
observes "If mind were at work there would be required sensing 
and perceiving, cognizing and judging, reason, intention and fore- 
cast of the future not to speak of recognition and choice and of 
the ways of the gnat and of man/' 2 The nature of the mental 
spring which determines the creature's behaviour is unknown. 
That the whple performance at every stage could have been 
evolved by natural selection seems inconceivable. It may be held 
that Darwinism is incapable of demonstrating that the principle 
of purpose directed to an end can enter into a process, as a result 
of natural selection. Purpose in its essence cannot occur as a chance 
variation. 

Sir Jagadisha Chandra Bose in his studies of "Life-Movements 
in Plants,"3 "Response in the Living and the non-Living/' etc., 
concludes that the movements of plants show vital activity going 
beyond physical explanation. It can no longer in his view be 
doubted that plants possess a well-defined nervous system. "As 
in the animal, it is possible to distinguish sensory or afferent and 
motor or efferent impulses. "4 Further, he thinks he has found the 
phenomena of response in the inanimate, e.g. in metals, by means 
of electrical experiments. Sherrington interprets Bose as presuming 
a kind of intelligence in plants and the inorganic. Bose himself, 
however, seems chiefly concerned to disprove dualism in nature, 
not by the explanation of the lower by the higher but by showing 
that there is no "breach of continuity/' "no defiance of the 
physical laws that govern the world/ '5 It is to be noted that it 
is not specifically mind, but life that he attributes to plants, and 
extends to things of the inorganic world. 

If we are to class the phenomenon as something to be brought 
under the conception of mind, that conception would have to be 
much extended or modified. If we omit it there, must we not 
suppose life to have potentialities which are wholly mysterious 
to us ? For many of the activities of animals are not to be described 
as less evolved, more primitive performances of a kind which 
appear in man in a more developed form, but as displaying 

1 Man on His Nature, Chap. ix. Ibid., chap. xii. 

3 Life Movements in Plants. I, II, VII, VIII. 

4 Response in the Living and the non-Living. 3 Ibid., chap. xx. 

c 33 



PHILOSOPHY 

properties and talents unknown to us. Reference has been made 
to certain devices of insects. Much speculation and patient obser- 
vation have not solved the problem of the migrations of birds. 
Reading Professor J. A. Thomson's account of the "Wonder of 
Life," one must ask whether life has not in itself the genius of 
infinite variations for experiments in existence. Some of these 
appear in the chance variations of which Darwinism can give no 
explanation, most of them to disappear in the struggle for life. 
In man the inventive mind supplies many artificial variations. 
He flics, though nature denied him the means. Selection does not 
cut off ruthlessly as in nature the majority of these freely con- 
trived variations, and some unfavourable to the advance to the 
human ideal are preserved. The animal perhaps attains its more 
modest ideal since life which gives no choice has Allowed it no 
second chance. If it possesses mind, this is not the mind of man, 
which 

"Looks to the skies scorning the base degrees 
By which it did ascend/' 

According to some philosophers the human mind, although never 
ceasing its struggle to rise above the limits set by life, cannot 
separate itself from its physical basis. The late Samuel Alexander 
speaks of the "identity of mind with its neural basis/' We are 
compelled to consider whether that which is in his view inseparable 
from so unstable a factor as a material process at a particular 
stage of evolution may not be indefinitely relative to that stage 
and that particular human species, and liable to be of a different 
type for beings at another stage equipped with a different neural 
process. "That which as experienced from the inside or enjoyed 
is a conscious process, is as experienced from the outside or con- 
templated a neural one." Alexander's discussion 1 assumes in 
general the omission of the free activity of thinking or mind 
creative in relation to other things. This omission seems to be in 
fact the inevitable result of the identification of mind with its 
neural basis. 

The most acute problem which we have to face in Alexander's 
and some other theories of "Emergent" orders of things, is that 
of the emergence of conscious mind from its basis in physical 
being, in view of the unbridgeable guJf between the nature of 
these two factors in experience. This gulf is that between the 
properties of order and of disorder. The philosophy of emergence 
may be characterized as an attempt to introduce some more 
rational principle into the barren conception of evolution by 
increasing complexity, heterogeneity, etc. "Without the specific 
1 Space, Time and Deity, vol. ii, book iii, chap. i. 

34 



MIND IN NATURE 

physiological or vital constellation there is no mind all less com- 
plex vital processes remain purely vital Mental process is some- 
thing new, a fresh creation which means that presence of so 
specific a physiological constitution as to separate it from simpler 
vital processes/' 1 

It cannot be questioned that the vital province abounds in 
exquisite, and in their own domain perfect, manifestations of order. 
Everywhere we may see in individual perfections the principle 
which is termed "Holism" by General Smuts, 2 co-operation of 
diverse growths or stages of growth to produce a whole. But it is 
as if this unlimited variety and magnificent abundance of forms 
of life had been set to play together a cosmic game or drama, in 
perfect order, but for certain seeds of a fatal disorder which had 
crept into th assemblage. In the growth of these the possibility 
of a universal plan is ruined. The outstanding illustration is the 
limitless over-productivity of life. From this proceeds primarily 
the incurable scourge of conflict at the heart of the living world 
from the lowest to the highest forms. There result short-lived 
existence in innumerable species, the apparent meaninglessness 
of their entrance upon life, waste of life in unending struggles to 
retain it in a large proportion of the lower and even the higher 
types. 

Professor J. A. Thomson in The Wonder of Life mentions 
that the number of eggs of a starfish is three hundred millions 
in a double series in each arm. 3 He quotes instances of "canni- 
balism in the cradle/ 1 struggle for existence amongst eggs/' There 
are "nutritive chains of creatures/' fashioned to live by preying 
on each other. Spinoza's "Conatus in suo esse perseverandi" might 
be treated as a noble though camouflaging text for a great part 
of animal life. Even in the plant-world the tormenting struggle 
goes on. There are plants which operate by starving or suffocating 
their neighbours. 4 

Thus in the organic world the exquisite order expressed in the 
individual forms of countless species, cannot be attributed to the 
whole province and principle of its constitution. On the contrary 
when regarded as a whole, life seems subject to a strange and 
violent inner contradiction, the laws of its nature producing total 
results wholly inconsistent with the ends which might seem to 
be implied in its particular expressions. 

The first law and function of mind on the other hand is the 
implanting of the spirit and methods of order everywhere, in 

1 Space, Time and Deity, vol. ii. book iii, chap. i. 

* Holism and Evolution. General Smuts, however, would not allow that 
disorder has entered in. 3 Chap. iii. 

4 From a letter to The Times, date not recorded. October, 1943. 

35 



PHILOSOPHY 

knowledge and practice. The Greek thinkers with their profound 
insight into the principles that could lift human life out of the 
jungle, conceived the fundamental contrast of values to be between 
"form and the formless," "the limit and the unlimited." The 
elements of the Good as Plato concludes in the Philebus, are 
Measure, Symmetry, Beauty and Truth. 

The whole course of philosophy had led up to this, from 
Pythagoras with the doctrine that number is the nature of things, 
the mathematical key to a well-regulated universe, introducing 
law into the otherwise confused medley of phenomena. 

Does mind evolve as a result of natural selection ? What evolves 
is the "neural basis." But this is according to Alexander identical 
with mind. Those who cannot subscribe to this position must 
nevertheless agree that in our experience the neural basis is 
indispensable to the activity of the individual mind. The enigma, 
therefore, remains how these two, the "vital constellation" and 
the mental principle, can be combined in their functions and 
activities. 

The theory of consciousness put forward by the late Professor 
Carveth Read brings out the paradox from a special angle. Con- 
sciousness is "the activity of that ultimate Being which phenomena 
express." His principal argument for this view is "the redundancy 
of consciousness." It is biologically useless everything goes on 
as if it were not there. It cannot be explained from natural selec- 
tion. Since it is nevertheless present in human and as some think 
in the higher animal life, this must be because it is "necessary, an 
activity of Being found wherever Being is manifested, rising to 
self-consciousness wherever animal bodies reach a certain high 
level of organization." 1 Read appears to assume the materialistic 
deterministic view of late nineteenth century science, with the 
corollary that consciousness is unnecessary as a principle of ex- 
planation, whilst himself holding on the grounds of self-knowledge 
that it must be accorded a necessary place. He agrees then to 
dismiss it from "appearance," but reinstates it in "reality." But 
it was presumably in the world of appearance that he discovered 
its necessity. Moreover, if we are living in a world of appearance 
this is because of the feebleness of our organs of consciousness 
and therefore of knowledge. If consciousness did not enter at all 
into this seeming experience there wouM be no means of judging 
whether or not it is a factor in events. The attempt to do without 
consciousness in the explanation of the event-process, whilst re- 
garding it as all in all in reality, results from Read's endeavour 
to make sense of the materialistic position in natural science. 

' Metaphysics of Nature, chap, x, and append. B; see also Contribution 
to British Contemporary Philosophy, Carveth Read. 

36 



MIND IN NATURE 

There appear to be two main sources of these ambiguities, and 
of others in connection with the philosophy of consciousness. One 
is the fallacious conception of the relation of "Universal" to 
individual consciousness. The fallacy lies deep in our habits of 
thought, profoundly influenced by language. Strictly speaking 
there is no universal consciousness. All consciousness is individual 
and closely bound up with the unique, individual outlook. In the 
"Conclusion" of his book Why the Mind Has a Body, C. Strong 
observes "The most difficult question remains How the individual 
consciousness comes from the Universal." But the question should 
rather be How the idea of the Universal arises from the individual 
standpoint, or how consciousness should be conceived as anything 
but individual at any stage. The quality of any being's conscious- 
ness is determined by his whole particularity and history. Even 
in individuals of the same species, group, or family it varies, 
beginning with the sensitivity of the senses. AH are subject to 
relativity. Human vision creates colours, 1 but not, as the biologist 
tells us, the vision of most animals. The world they see is grey, 
though many of them are clad for us in more gorgeous colours 
than we can reproduce. As we ascend in the scale the individuality 
of qualities increases, and culminates in man and his highest 
experiences of value. Certainly there are universal features in 
consciousness as the existence of knowledge and the experience 
of practical life make indubitable. Kant's consciousness in general 
(Bewusstsein iiberhaupt) belonged to his view of the forms of 
perception and categories of understanding. But the universal 
consciousness of a "Pan-psychist" such as Strong, and, though 
he hesitates to accept the title, Carveth Read, would appear to 
signify a unity of all particular conscious experiences, and is a 
monstrosity of metaphysical thought. 

The other and allied principal source of confusion in the philo- 
sophies of consciousness concerns the true subject of all conscious 
experience, at the stage reached by the human mind. It seems 
probable that in no being below man in the order of the organic 
world has the subject which is never object emerged. The animals 
appear to possess only the object consciousness. We experience 
this state in dreams when we take part in series of events which 
seem to be arranged independently of our thought and will, and 
which we do not question, however unusual. Those who regard 
consciousness as the useless epiphenomenal accompaniment of 
actual processes, suppress the unique significance of the human 
experience, leaving the world as an arranged play of objects, or 
a game of chess which plays itself somehow in planned moves, 
without planners. The image of the unseen marionette manipu- 
* J. S. Haldane, Philosophy of a Biologist. II. 

37 



PHILOSOPHY 

lator inevitably arises. If mental events have no effect upon 
physical acts, how account for the acts of those who maintain 
this view, teach, write, labour to make it known? But without 
adopting any such extreme position, many seem oblivious of the 
presence of the subject which is never object, in all propositions 
concerning self- activity, knowledge, in fact a considerable part 
of our discourse. "I" do, think, wish, etc. The statement is objec- 
tive. The "I" is part of the object. The subject from which the 
statement ultimately proceeds cannot be objectively known with- 
out ceasing to be the original subject. 

Professor Sherington observes "The / can never come into the 
plane of objects of sensual perception. It is awareness/' This seems 
to be near what I mean. But I should add to sensual perception 
all other forms of awareness as not capable of making an object 
of the subject ego. Elsewhere he says, "The -mind 1 finds that our 
world resolves itself into energy and mind.'' There must then be 
mind behind energy and mind objective. The philosophic scientist 
Professor Sherrington seems to get nearer to the heart of the matter 
in regard to the place of mind in our experience than the scientist 
for whom the postulates and methods of chemistry and physics 
provide principles of explanation for the apparent function of 
consciousness. He appears also to have perceived something in the 
nature of mind which must escape the metaphysician who starts 
from the postulate that universal mind is the ultimate basis of 
all things. Armed with this conviction the absolute idealist must 
construct the system of things on the foundation of an objective 
logic, with the individual as a finite centre deriving his nature 
and function from the whole. The idea of the finite centre in the 
whole, makes impossible any clear conception of the true subject 
of the individual experience. It is the whole which feels, thinks, 
wills, knows through the individual. But what does the actual 
human individual know of the experience of Universal Mind ? Not 
knowing this, he can on this view know nothing of his own original 
subject-activity. He only knows himself as object amongst other 
objects, finite centre of infinite mind. Dr. Johnson would no doubt 
say "Sir, we know we are individual, and there's an end on't." 
But philosophy must take a longer route. 

1 Italics mine.* 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

W. D. LAMONT, M.A., D.Phil. 

PHILOSOPHY is very largely concerned with speculation upon 
problems of a highly abstract character, but some of the questions 
with which it deals have important practical aspects; and I think 
that social philosophy occupies and rightly occupies a dominant 
place in contemporary thought. If post-war policies are to render 
more secure the lives, the liberties and the happiness of mankind, 
they must be based upon sound principles; and it is with the intention 
of throwing certain of these principles into bold relief that I have 
ventured to choose the realm of politics and culture as the subject 
of these reflections. 

The view has frequently been expressed that the more advanced 
trends in present-day political thought are inimical to some of the 
most valuable elements in "cultural life." This view may not be 
based upon any profound appreciation of the nature of political 
institutions and the meaning of "culture" ; but whether it is profound 
or superficial it does seem to exert a certain influence, an influence 
mainly adverse to the idea of international organization. From 
political thinkers there comes the demand for some form of inter- 
national federation, or league, or super-state with authority and 
power to prevent future wars and to settle international disputes on 
a peaceful and equitable basis. This demand comes as the demand 
for the League of Nations came primarily from idealists. And 
when I say idealists, I do not mean abstract visionaries out of all 
touch with reality. I mean men who, with a genuine interest in 
human welfare, have tried to learn from past developments in social 
history what adjustments in social organization would be most 
likely to remove present evils. It is not my purpose to criticize or 
defend this demand for international organization, but simply to 
draw attention to the existence of the demand and to point out at 
least one of the motives inspiring it. That motive is the desire of the 
good will to create such institutions as are necessary for its own 
expression in practical affairs. It has been partly responsible for the 
development of the present-day nation state; and we have reached 
a stage in human history, some people believe, when a further 
development of political institutions is necessary. 

Now there are many who sympathizing to some extent with 
this tendency of thought fear that, from a cultural point of view, 
its influence must be harmful. They fear that the development of 

39 



PHILOSOPHY 

international political institutions may have the effect of destroying 
the rich variety of national cultures and reducing humanity to the 
one dull level of uniformity. 

In this paper, therefore, I propose to discuss the nature of culture, 
its importance in society, its relation to the state, and finally to 
deal with the question whether we are forced into the disagreeable 
situation of having to choose either a stable international order or a 
healthy variety of cultural life whether we cannot, by a wise 
ordering of our affairs, create the one without interfering with the 
development of the other. 

The Nature of Culture and its Importance in Society. When we 
speak of a political society we are thinking in territorial terms. The 
' 'political' ' feature of a society refers essentially to common residence 
within a certain area, and to the institutions which grow up in 
order to regulate the behaviour of all who live within that area. 
But if the only bond between individuals were that of common 
residence, they would be a mere collection of persons and not a 
society in any real sense. It is difficult even to imagine any group 
of individuals living for any length of time in such purely spatial 
relationship. Certainly, political groups have always been real 
societies. Their members have always had some form of common 
life; and if common ideals, traditions and customs have not per- 
meated the whole if they have seriously differed according to 
locality, race, class or faith living together has been something of 
an irksome task rather than a source of happiness. 

Now a culture is both a product of and an incentive to a common 
life. Culture is not a technical term of philosophy, and it is used in 
so many different senses that its meaning is not always clear. We 
speak of a cultural education, of a cultured person, or of a national 
culture, often with the vaguest ideas in our minds as to what culture 
signifies. And so it will be well to define, or at least to describe, 
what I mean here in speaking of the cultural life of a society. Let us 
begin with some examples. The pyramids and other antiquities of 
Egypt are monuments of the culture of ancient Egypt. Greek 
poetry, drama, philosophy, and architecture are cultural products 
of ancient Greece. The Catholic faith was part of the culture of 
mediaeval Europe, as Islam is a cultural product of the Arabic- 
speaking world, and as certain forms of democratic institutions are 
part of the culture of Britain. To every one of these examples which 
I have mentioned the particular people concerned and, of course, 
not only the people immediately concerned has attached a value 
which is not merely utilitarian. Over and above any utility value 
which they may have possessed, these things have been valued for 
themselves. To use a distinction drawn by Aristotle, we may say 
that the culture of a people is what that people creates and desires 

40 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

to maintain once it gives its attention, not merely to the preservation 
of life, but also to the development of the good life, "(rood here 
has not any strictly ethical significance. It refers to whatever is felt 
to have a value over and above its utility for some particular purpose. 
For example, a house is built primarily for a utilitarian purpose 
as a shelter in which man may live. But it may also be an object 
in which we take delight because of its pleasing proportions, its 
harmony with the landscape, and so on. It has, then, for us a value 
over and above its value in use. And it is when men aim at the 
production of these extra values that we say they are no longer 
concerned wholly with the maintenance of life, but have begun to 
think of the good life. They have begun to develop a culture. They 
are in process of making out of life a rich experience rather than a 
mere series of events. 

If the foregoing account is an approximately correct description 
of what is vaguely in our minds when we talk of a people's culture, 
we may take it that the cultural side of life has to do with a certain 
manner of valuing things. I shall elaborate this idea because of its 
importance for my subsequent argument. 

In determining objects of cultural value, we must first of all set 
aside things which we value but which we have not produced. 
Fresh air, the warmth of the sun, a fertile soil such things are 
without doubt valuable, but they are not part of culture. A culture 
is something which is the product of our ''cultivation, 1 ' something 
which we have produced, created or induced to grow up. 

But not even everything created or produced by us is part of 
our culture. Valuable products may be divided into three important 
classes: (i) Those which are valued simply as instruments, or for 
their utility; and possibly most people would place in this class the 
apparatus which we use to keep ourselves and our dwellings clean. 
(2) Things which are valued only for themselves and have no utility, 
e.g. music and dancing. (3) Things which are valued both for them- 
selves and for their utility, as e.g. science, beautifully planned 
roads and bridges, etc. Actually, it must always be with great 
hesitation that we place anything in either the first or the second 
class. Something which for most people may have only intrumental 
value, may very well be valued in a non-utilitarian fashion by par- 
ticular persons. To most of us, the woodman's axe or the carpenter's 
tools seem to be merely articles for use. But I should think that 
few self-respecting carpenters and foresters take this point of view. 
To see his axe abused by a clumsy novice will arouse in the forester 
feelings which are quite disproportionate to the amount of damage 
which is being done to the mere usefulness of his instrument. Again, 
although I have given music and dancing as examples of the second 
class things valued only for themselves and not for utility dancing 



PHILOSOPHY 

is employed in physical training, and a military band can be useful 
to a commander for reviving the spirit of tired men. Plato, indeed, 
thought that both music and dancing were important educational 
instruments. But while it may be true that nothing can, with 
absolute confidence, be placed in the first or second class, it is true 
that, for a given person or group at a given time, the things which 
are valued can be divided into these three classes. 

We have already said that cultural values are non-utilitarian; 
that is to say, the things which belong to our culture are included 
in the second and third classes. They are valued either solely for 
themselves, or else both for themselves and for their utility. But 
they are part of culture only in respect of their non-utilitarian value 
if they belong to the third class. 

Now if we consider these cultural or non-utilitarian values, we 
shall see that they play an important part in developing the sense 
of social solidarity. It is precisely because they do so that any 
challenge or fancied challenge to their existence can often close 
the ranks of a group, party, or nation as no other appeal can. This 
unifying effect of the non-utilitarian values seems to be due to the 
fact that, by their very nature, they are able to become the objects 
of public enjoyment in a way in which many utilitarian values 
cannot. The utility value of a thing is very often limited to a small 
group of persons or even to a single individual. The number of persons 
which a house can accommodate is strictly limited; and so its 
possession is liable to arouse the competitive spirit and make the 
competitors acutely aware of their private needs, hopes and fears 
of the things which separate them. But if that house has been 
designed by an architect of genius, its dignity and beauty are there 
for every mind capable of appreciating them. The value of the thing 
is not consumed in its enjoyment; it is a potential source of satis- 
faction to millions, and the number who share in this satisfaction 
makes no difference to the amount of enjoyment which is available 
to each individual. It is true that external factors may limit the 
extent to which people have access to these values. The proprietor 
of the house may desire privacy and build a high wall round his 
garden. The owner of a Rembrandt may keep it locked up in his 
strong-room. The philosophical and scientific wisdom of the ages 
may not be open to the person who is unable to pay for higher 
education. The priesthood of a particular cult, so far from being 
filled with a missionary spirit, may actually discourage converts. 
But these adventitious barriers have nothing to do with the essen- 
tially public character of the values themselves. A rich language, 
cherished institutions and customs, philosophy, art, science and 
religion these things men can share without any diminution in the 
individual's portion. Nor is this all. In probably all forms of culture, 

42 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

common enjoyment or perhaps one ought to say the consciousness 
of common enjoyment enhances individual enjoyment. If you enjoy 
singing, you probably sing more fervently in a choir than in your 
bath. If your tastes are artistic or scholarly, you are probably 
connected with some school, society or academy; and the knowledge 
that your cultural interest or inheritance is shared by others is 
disturbing factors aside sufficient in itself to create a glow of 
fellow-feeling. In any country, or for that matter in any large city, 
whose population is drawn from a variety of national strains, indi- 
viduals will naturally be drawn into national groups to celebrate 
the fame of a national poet, to commemorate national festivals, or 
(if no more imposing object presents itself) to indulge in national 
food and gossip in the national tongue. 

I must, however, guard against a possible misunderstanding. I 
have said that, while cultural values are, in their very nature, the 
objects of common enjoyment, utility values are not. I do not 
mean by this that utility values are necessarily private. Quite 
obviously some of them are not. Great industrial engineering schemes, 
systems of law, education, public health, postal services, and so on, 
have all public utility value. And if they have public utility value, 
they certainly form a most important basis for social co-operation. 
But to promote social co-operation is not the same thing as to 
promote the lively sentiment or consciousness of fellowship. When 
we think primarily of the utility of anything, our minds pass beyond 
it and concentrate on that for which it is useful. We are interested 
in results, and our attitude to the means and to the persons who 
produce these results tends to be coolly or critically objective. The 
more concentrated our attention on the end, the less room is there 
for sentiment with respect to the means. But, unless we are very 
unfortunate, periods of striving alternate with periods of enjoyment 
enjoyment and contemplation both of the results and of the 
instruments by which they have been achieved. If the instruments 
have served us well, our minds delight in contemplating the per- 
fection with which they have served their end, the grandness of their 
conception, their triumph over difficulties, even their familiar 
presence as an integral part of the daily round. We begin to value 
them directly. They serve _as_ focal .points for our sentiments. To 
adapt Wordsworth's famou^ definition of poetry, we may say that 
some of the greatest non-utilitarian values arise from a record of 
success recollected in tranquillity. The sentiment extends to include 
those who have been associated with us in our enterprise. We 
develop esprit de corps, the sense of fellowship with those who, we 
naturally assume, share our pride. It is for this reason that the 
cherished tradition of a college or a fighting service develops, not 
only loyalty to the institution, but also mutual loyalty amongst the 

43 



PHILOSOPHY 

members. Sometimes, indeed, this loyalty can become so strong as 
to impair our sense of proportion with regard to questions of utility. 

As such traditions promote the sense of fellowship in special 
groups, so the familiar national customs, rites, and institutions, 
within which the pattern of our daily life is woven, promote the 
sense of national fellowship, the sense of our common character as 
custodians of a common tradition. This is a fact so well recognized 
that "defence of the national culture" is regarded as a particularly 
strong plank in the platform of anyone anxious to obtain public 
support. Sometimes this appeal is made in sincerity, and sometimes 
it is not. But the frequency with which it is employed especially 
when speed and strength of response are desired shows how much 
stress we lay upon cultural ideals as integrating and driving forces 
in society. 

The Policy of the State in Relation to Culture. Having seen what 
is meant by the cultural aspect of a people's life, and how cultural 
values play an important part in creating and maintaining social 
solidarity, let us consider the relation of the state to the cultural 
life. To give, perhaps,a finer point to our question, let us look at 
certain political tendencies which are active in the world to-day. 
Hundreds of people are preoccupied by the problem of the recon- 
struction of the world after the war. In Europe, at least, states will 
have to be reconstituted and perhaps federated. Nor is it likely that 
Europe alone will be affected. Either within, or as an alternative 
to, a world organization, social and political thinkers are discussing 
the possibility of regional federations. On what basis would such 
regional schemes be founded? The very term "region," of course, 
implies that geographical considerations will exert a strong influence; 
but questions of community of culture cannot be ignored. As we 
have seen, any political society must be more than political. It 
must be a real society if the members are to work harmoniously 
together. If government is to succeed in its task of governing, if its 
authority is to be supported by effective power, there must be a 
network of institutions through which it can reach the wills of the 
people under its control; and there must be reasonably good will 
to make these institutions work. But this good will can be immensely 
strengthened if, throughout the community, there is a sense of 
fellowship, a sentiment of belonging together. And, as we have 
already seen, this sentiment seems to develop most spontaneously 
on the basis of common cultural ideals. 

Shall we say, then, that because of the part which a common 
culture can play in welding the members of a society together, 
political government ought to select, as a fundamental aim of its 
policy, the maintenance and inculcation of a certain form of cultural 
life ? When we realize how valuable, even from the purely political 

44 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

point of view, a common culture can be, it seems to be an obvious 
inference that, when he is confronted by a loosely articulated mass 
of humanity which is to be welded into a real society, the statesman 
should adopt as the rallying-ground of their community life some 
specific cultural ideal. 

On this question is it absolutely vital that we should do some 
clear and careful thinking; for if, through confusion of issues, we 
take the wrong line of action, the ultimate result may be the exact 
opposite of what we desire. The issues which we must not confuse 
afe these: firstly, should a political government encourage, and 
provide ample facilities for, the development of cultural life? and, 
secondly, should a political government adopt, as a fundamental 
aim of its policy, the propagation and maintenance of a particular 
kind of culture ? Assuming that the existence of a common culture 
does facilitate the work of a political government, which (if cither) 
of these alternative lines of action ought it to take ? 

Let us consider in some detail the second one the policy of 
attempting to organize the community life round some definite 
cultural ideal. This notion is a very familiar one; and so it may be 
instructive to look at the results of some of the attempts to embody 
it in practice. 

In the past, there have been at least four things one or other of 
which statesmen have tried to make the essential bond of union in 
a society. The first is homogeneity of race, the second a certain 
type of social institution, the third a particular linguistic heritage, 
the fourth a particular religious cult. Whichever of these has been 
selected, state policy has been directed towards preserving and 
fostering it as a primary aim of government. 

Of these four, the first homogeneity of race is not really a 
part of culture; and perhaps little need be said of it, except that to 
lay stress upon it in the modern world seems a suicidal policy for 
anyone who is trying to foster social unity. In practically all countries 
of the world which have had any history at all, races are so mixed 
that any resolute drive towards the identification of the nation 
with a particular racial group leads to the victimization of large 
minorities, and to the straining of many of those bonds of mutual 
affection which, ex hypothesi, we are trying to foster. 

When, however, we turn to genuine cultural interests, the prospects 
seem much more hopeful. No member of society can, with the best 
will in the world, provide himself with a new line of ancestors. But 
he may, under favourable conditions, become attached to new ideals. 
And yet history shows that, when the state ranges its machinery in 
support of some definite cultural ideal, this frequently ends, not in 
the consolidation of the national life round this ideal, but in a 
political revolution. 

45 



PHILOSOPHY 

We see this happen in connection with institutions. Take, for 
instance, the history of the English monarchy during the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. The strength of the monarchy was built 
up by the Tudor sovereigns; and during the reigns of the Henrys 
and Elizabeth concentration of power in the royal hands seemed to 
suit the needs of the time, and was an important factor in the 
development of a truly national spirit. For these and other reasons, 
the monarchial institution became the object of a cult, and the 
sovereign became endowed with almost superhuman attributes in 
the doctrine of the divine right of kings. But the passionate devotion 
to the monarchy, simply for itself and not from any clear view of 
its utility, produced results which were not altogether happy. 
Changing circumstances demanded readjustments in the machinery 
of government, particularly in the direction of limiting the discre- 
tionary powers of the king and increasing the authority of parlia- 
ment. Such readjustments many were unwilling to make; and while 
many causes contributed to the bitterness of the struggle which 
followed, not the least of these was the fact that a large party in the 
country adhered to the royalists for sentimental reasons, without 
much thought about the utility of the things they were trying to 
preserve. They were prepared to maintain by force something which 
had acquired the dignity of tradition, and which they had come to 
value in itself as a part of their social culture. In their insensitiveness 
to changing social needs, they so helped to deepen antagonisms, that 
what had begun as a request for reform ended in an act of revolution. 

We have said something about the idea of race and the cult of 
institutions; and we turn now to the question of language. When a 
language is common to a group, and when there is no strong in- 
centive to change it for another, it forms a most valuable bond of 
union, and is a basis upon which other institutions of a common 
life may be built. Such community of language acquires particular 
significance in two different sets of circumstances; firstly, when a 
group has previously led a separate existence but now forms part 
of a larger state; and, secondly, when two or more separate states 
sharing a common language begin to consider questions of federation. 

In the first case, the language very often becomes a precious 
symbol of ancient independence, and may be jealously fostered 
under extremely difficult conditions. Amongst European peoples two 
outstanding examples are the Poles and the Czechs. In the second 
case, community of language seems to be a natural principle of 
federation. Thus, when federation is discussed in connection with 
post-war settlement, we often hear proposals for an English-speaking 
Union (including the British Commonwealth and the United States 
of America), or for an Arabic-speaking Union (covering the greater 
part of the Middle East). 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

But while it is quite clear that community of language forms a 
useful basis for political arrangements, it is equally clear that this 
cannot be the only important consideration. Not only geographical 
but also economic factors must be taken into account. Great Britain, 
e.g., belongs geographically to Europe. When she has tried to ignore 
this fact, it has been forcibly brought to her attention by the march 
of events on the Continent. Again, when the problem of Czech 
independence was dealt with after the last war, geographical and 
economic considerations decreed that there should not be a purely 
Cfcech-speaking state. The new state was called Czechoslovakia; and, 
moreover, it included a considerable German-speaking minority. 

Not only is it unsafe to take community of language as the sole 
basis of political demarcation, but even the fostering of a certain 
language as a fundamental aim of government is attended by grave 
risks to social happiness. The attempt to enforce the use of a single 
language throughout the state's territory may in certain circum- 
stances be most unsound. This does not mean that such a policy is 
always unwise ; for it will be generally admitted that a single medium 
of communication possesses distinct advantages. The point is that 
the policy may sometimes be unwise. It may rouse internecine 
strife when it involves the suppression of a tongue employed by a 
large section of the public. More rarely, it may arouse a sense of 
frustration by trying to preserve a tongue which there is a general 
tendency to abandon in favour of some other. In either case, the 
political government will be encouraging antagonisms, rather than 
promoting sentiments of fellowship, by its cultural policy, and thus 
defeating the end for which, ex hypothesi, it has put its linger in the 
cultural pie. 

There is, finally, the case of religion. This is the particular form 
of cultural life which has most often influenced political policy. At 
the present day, there are various states which bind themselves to 
the support of some religious institution, the characteristic rites of 
which form part of public ceremony, and whose high dignitaries 
have, in virtue of their religious office, a place in the machinery of 
political government. In earlier times the state support of religion 
was even more vigorous. It was quite usual to enforce upon everyone 
conformity to the established religion, and to punish disobedience 
with fine, imprisonment, torture, or death. When emotions were 
particularly aroused, stated even considered it their mission to 
extend the faith to other peoples and to embark on religious wars. 
And yet, in the end, states which adopted this policy often succeeded, 
not in creating greater social solidarity, but in arousing bitterness, 
dissension, and civil war; and in sharpening differences within the 
fold of the faithful itself. Governments which succeeded in imposing 
strict conformity frequently did so at the expense of the intellectual 

47 



PHILOSOPHY 

and moral vitality of the people. Here, as in other branches of culture, 
it seems that when a powerful sentiment is shared by all the members 
of a community, the statesman can make use of this common 
sentiment for purposes of corporate action. But when the common 
sentiment does not exist, or when it is in process of altering its 
character, it would appear that for the state to champion and enforce 
a particular form of religion is to run a grave risk of promoting, 
not greater unity, but greater chaos. 

If we try to relate the two principal conclusions at which we 
have so far arrived, it must appear as if we have been led into" a 
most paradoxical, unsatisfactory, or even unreasonable position. 
In the first place, we have argued that the merely political bond is 
not sufficient to make a real society, and that government is im- 
possible unless the members of the political community are bound 
together in a net-work of institutions which serve both to fulfil 
their purposes and also to keep them under orderly control. Still 
more, it is difficult for a government to mobilize the community for 
common action unless the members share common ideals and senti- 
ments; and such common sentiments are most easily developed on 
the basis of common cultural values. The obvious inference from 
this would seem to be that a political government ought to adopt, 
as a fundamental aim of its policy, the^creation and maintenance 
of a certain form of culture for the whole community over which it 
rules. But now we have reached the conclusion that for the state 
to adopt this attitude is a most dangerous thing, and that such a 
policy may well produce division and strife rather than social 
solidarity and harmonious co-operation. 

I think the apparent contradiction in our conclusions can be 
satisfactorily resolved, not merely in theory but also in practice; 
but, in order to reach the solution, it will be necessary to probe a 
little more deeply the facts which give rise to the problem. We 
must try to understand why it is that the state's support of a par- 
ticular form of culture is apt to lead to unexpectedly unhappy 
results. If I may be permitted to give first my conclusion, and then 
to elaborate the grounds on which I base this conclusion, I will say 
that the explanation is this: the things which have great cultural 
value very often have also great utility value or disvalue. Utility 
value changes with changing circumstances; and it is when serious 
conflicts arise between our utilitarian and our cultural valuations 
(which are non-utilitarian) that the state becomes involved in 
difficulties if it throws its weight on the side of the non-utilitarian. 

I shall now explain and elaborate this idea which seems to me to 
be particularly important. 

In an earlier part of this paper I mentioned the three classes 
into which we may group valuable objects: (i) those which are 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

valued simply for their utility; (2) those which are valued simply 
for themselves; (3) those which are valued for their utility and also 
for themselves. And I said that, since cultural values are non- 
utilitarian, their objects must fall into either the second or the third 
class. It is, however, extremely difficult to place anything without 
qualification in the first or the second class. There are few things 
which cannot have some utility for some person at some time; and 
many things, which are at first valued only for their utility, come 
to be valued also for themselves. A well-known example is that 
irfentioned by J. S. Mill. While a person may begin to accumulate 
money for its utility for what he can buy with it he may develop 
a passion for the simple accumulation of money. When this happens 
we call him a miser. That which at first had only utility value has 
come to possess for him also non-utility value. So that, as we have 
indicated, it is seldom that one can, with absolute finality, describe 
anything as having only utility value, or only non-utility value. 

But even if this were not the case, it is certain that most, if not 
all, of the things which acquire great cultural value belong to our 
third class. That is to say, we value them for utilitarian reasons as 
well as for themselves. This is a fact of the utmost significance in 
explaining why the state is liable to become involved in difficulties, 
when it tries to promote some special type of culture. 

Consider, first, the problem of social institutions. The customs 
and institutions of a people grow up for a variety of reasons, but 
one of the most important is that they are thought to be the best 
for promoting social order and prosperity. The utility of the insti- 
tutions to some class, or to society as a whole, is one of the main 
causes of their existence. A particular system of law or a particular 
form of government seems appropriate to the needs of a people, to 
their level of moral development, their temperament, their economic 
life, geographical distribution, etc. And if this form of government 
does, on the whole, work smoothly and give to the majority living 
under it reasonable opportunities for happiness, then it itself be- 
comes an object of pride and affection. It acquires, in the common 
estimation, that kind of value which makes it part of the society's 
cultural life. 

But the conditions of life may change, and change radically. The 
members of the society may be faced by the need of adjusting 
themselves to a new economic order, to developments in general 
standards of education, and to a different set of relations with 
neighbouring peoples. It may be that the traditional institutions, 
.which have so adequately fulfilled their mission in the past, have 
become unsuitable to the new circumstances. In comparison with 
other possible forms of social organization they may, in the new age, 
have actual disutility. They may be a liability rather than an asset, 

D 49 



PHILOSOPHY 

a hindrance rather than a help, in promoting the society's aspira- 
tions. And yet, having lost their utility value they may, for a con- 
siderable time, retain their profound sentimental hold on a large or 
influential section of the public as an honoured part of the traditional 
culture. With this divorce between utility and non-utility values, a 
strong tension is set up in the social consciousness : and the state is 
courting disaster if it identifies itself prematurely with the new 
tendencies or ties itself too firmly to the old. 

The same is obviously true of language. Language, while to some 
small extent a development from the spontaneous expression* of 
emotion, is mainly art instrument for the communication of ideals 
and desires so as to make them intelligible to other human beings. 
Languages, like social institutions, develop their form in intimate 
connection with ideas and needs. And so a language, originally 
developed to meet simple physical and mental requirements, may 
not be easily modified and expanded to serve new conditions as 
e.g. when a community, isolated in its primitive simplicity, suddenly 
feels the impact of higher civilization. In such a case, there is a 
tendency for the old language to be displaced by a more richly 
developed one. Again, if close economic relations develop between a 
large, powerful community and a small weak one, there is a tendency 
for the language of the latter irrespective of merit to be displaced 
by that of the former. This is the position in the British Isles, where 
English has to a large extent displaced the native tongues of the 
Celtic parts of the population, and despite the efforts being made 
to stem the tide the process is likely to continue. Here, as in the 
case of traditional institutions, tension is produced by two forces 
pulling in opposite directions: considerations of utility drawing 
towards the abandonment of the old, and cultural sentiments 
operating in favour of its preservation. 

Religion is liable to become involved in a similar struggle. We 
do not, perhaps, usually think of religion in connection with utility: 
and that is probably because the relation is rather less direct than 
in the cases of institutions and languages. But we see that such a 
relation exists when we reflect upon what is involved in religion. 
Religion is not theology, or philosophy, or science, or history. It is 
not a particular moral code. But it does always include some beliefs 
which have definite philosophical (and probably scientific and 
historical) implications: and it is always bound up with some code 
of behaviour. While no precise set of beliefs may be essential to all 
religions, or to any one religion in all its phases, yet, at any given 
time, a particular religion is associated with or includes some more 
or less determinate beliefs of a metaphysical, scientific or historical 
character. For example, in its early stages the whole outlook of 
Christianity was deeply coloured by the then prevalent belief that 

50 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

this earth is the centre of the universe, and that the sun, moon and 
stars are relatively small bodies circling round it, created for the 
purpose of supplying it with warmth and light. While it can hardly 
be said that such conceptions were essentials of Christianity, never- 
theless they formed part of the content of its original form: and to 
challenge such ideas, as did Copernicus and others, seemed to be to 
challenge the fundamentals of the faith. Similarly suspect were the 
physical and medical scientists when they began to explore regions 
of life hitherto dark and unknown. Mental abnormality was, in the 
old view, attributed to "possession* 1 by strange demons or spirits: 
and even physical deformities were liable to interpretations of a 
like nature. Old women of peculiar habits or appearance were 
supposed to be on specially close terms with the devil, and to have 
received from him mysterious powers for working mischief on their 
neighbours. 

Now such beliefs, in so far as they influence men's practice, may 
be not only devoid of utility but also positively harmful. False 
astronomical and physical theories can be barriers to our control 
over inanimate nature. False philosophical and psychological theories 
can be harmful if they incite us to the torture and execution of 
harmless old eccentrics. Once such theories become matters of doubt, 
we are drawn to a critical examination of them, not only from a 
desire for truth, but also from the point of view of their practical 
implications. 

Yet so deeply have they been associated with the religious out- 
look of a past age, that any open investigation or denial of them 
has often produced violent reaction. Political authorities who felt 
themselves to be the guardians of the traditional religion threw 
their weight into the scale in favour of the older forms of belief, and 
against the new enlightenment with results with which we are all 
familiar. Once more we have an example of the risk which the state 
runs of creating strife, rather than harmony, when it makes the 
preservation of a particular cult an essential object of its policy. 

The truth seems to be that all the great cultural values are 
developed in connection with matters which have had, first and 
foremost, a utility value. If, for any reason, the utility ceases to 
exist or to be transformed into positive disutility, a psychological 
tension supervenes. On the one hand, we are drawn by old loyalties, 
by familiar and hallowed associations, to defend and conserve what 
we have inherited from the past. On the other hand, we are drawn 
by the imperious needs of the present to abandon the old in favour 
of something new. Such a state of tension cannot, however, persist 
indefinitely: and the general rule is for the latter tendency to prevail. 
The old, because of the sense of frustration and thraldom from 
which we cannot now dissociate it, gradually loses its hold upon our 

51 



PHILOSOPHY 

affection. The new, appealing at first by its superior utility, gradually 
becomes also the centre of new non-utility values, the rallying point 
for a new stage in the history of our cultural life. To insist, in 
such circumstances, on the maintenance of the old is tantamount 
to the state's presenting itself with the royal gift of a white 
elephant. 

So far we have been dealing with the question whether the state 
should adopt, as a fundamental aim of its policy, the propagation 
and maintenance of a particular kind of culture. The answer seems 
to be fairly clearly in the negative. Does this mean, then, that'it 
should not concern itself with the cultural life in any fashion? 
Such a conclusion has been drawn; but it does not necessarily 
follow from the foregoing arguments. There is the alternative policy 
which we have mentioned earlier; namely, that the state should 
encourage and provide ample facilities for the development of 
cultural life, without being too officious in attempting to prescribe 
the particular form which this development is to take. If this 
alternative policy is a feasible one, then its adoption ought to have 
results which will be welcome even from the purely political point 
of view; for we must not forget that a developed social culture is 
one of the most potent factors in securing that sense of fellowship 
in a community upon which statesmen have to rely for full social 
co-operation on important occasions. The difficulty is to see just 
how this alternative policy is to be put into practice. I think, how- 
ever, that if we consider a problem which is in many respects 
analagous, we shall find the key to the solution. 

It is generally recognized at least in theory that education is 
concerned with the training of character as well as of intellect; 
that attendance at a university, e.g., should assist in developing the 
mental and moral qualities required in the good public servant. 
Students should emerge from their university training with some 
idea of the place which their work has in the life of the community, 
some general scheme of values, some broad "philosophy of life" 
which will give direction to their interests and healthy balance to 
their attitude to their fellows. 

But how, exactly, is this development of character to be promoted? 
For the purely intellectual side of our training, for the acquisition 
of that specialized knowledge which ^is required for professional 
proficiency, there are the regular courses of academic instruction. 
But how do we provide character training? Certainly not by formal 
instruction courses in the matter of which students will sit regular 
examinations. In fact, the university cannot provide us with some 
ready-made robe of character in which we envelope ourselves, or 
some official philosophy of life which we learn by rote and are able 
to repeat on demand. What it can and should do is to make ample 

52 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

and intelligent provision of those conditions which will stimulate the 
growth of character and personality. 

With regard to these conditions, an essential one is that students 
should be encouraged, and provided with generous opportunities, to 
educate each other. While mainly occupied in their own specialist 
studies, they should, by mixing with those whose researches lie in 
different directions, gather some rough idea of what is going on 
round about them. They should have opportunities for the formation 
of all sorts of clubs and societies, for the success or failure of which 
they would themselves be responsible. Only by such means can they 
develop initiative, develop a sense of values, train themselves in the 
difficult business of honest co-operation for common ends, measure 
each other's ability and reliability, and learn by experience what is 
worth doing and what is not. It is on the multiplicity of these small, 
intimate associations within the larger whole that a rich moral and 
intellectual life is founded. 

Here we have, I think, a clue to the way in which the state can 
most safely and effectively participate in the development of social 
culture. Following this clue, we can see the real value of voluntary 
associations, and the contribution which they are able to make to 
the life of the community as a whole. While concentrating on its 
essential functions of maintaining order, security and justice, and 
such secondary functions as, from time to time, it can conveniently 
fulfil, the state can best assist in the promotion of a healthy cultural 
life by giving ample opportunity for, and encouragement to, the 
growth of voluntary associations for the free association of its 
members in small groups for the reasonable promotion of those ends 
in which they are interested. Such associations, quite apart from 
their direct value to the particular individuals concerned, have a 
general value for a variety of reasons. 

In the first place, just because they are voluntary, and are not 
able to count upon the coercive power of the state for securing their 
nds, the members are stimulated to secure these ends by the 
methods proper to their nature; that is to say, by example and 
persuasion, and by convincing others that they have something 
worth while to offer. Success depends, in the long run, on the initia- 
tive and the loyalty which individuals show for the cause they have 
adopted, and on the extent to which they have trained themselves 
to place common aims before merely personal advantage. 

In the second place and this, again, is because of their voluntary 
nature these associations are not likely to persist indefinitely, as 
useless survivals, after their value has disappeared or men have lost 
interest in the purposes which they were created to serve. Voluntary 
associations are fairly sensitive to changing needs, and the relative 
ease with which they can be constituted or dissolved helps to secure 

53 



PHILOSOPHY 

that continuous adjustment of institutions to interests which is 
necessary for a vital cultural life. 

In the third place, voluntary societies can provide a good training 
in the spirit of co-operation and reasonable compromise, so necessary 
in the life of the larger society. 

It is, of course, true that to permit or encourage the growth of 
voluntary societies is to encourage the development of rival groups. 
There is the danger that loyalty to the small group may weaken 
loyalty to the larger society. But this danger is not so great as is 
sometimes supposed. Indeed, the most probable influence is in th'e 
opposite direction. Narrowness of outlook is much more pronounced 
in a community which discourages free association than in a com- 
munity where associations abound. Here, at least, the proverb is 
true that there is safety in numbers. Where voluntary societies 
flourish, it is seldom that a person will belong to one society only. 
Few of us have purely one-track minds. Most of us have various 
interests, and the groups of persons with whom we associate will 
differ in membership to some extent according to the interest 
concerned. Of those with whom we become familiar through our 
scientific interests, perhaps only a small minority will belong to the 
group which shares our particular artistic inclinations. The indi- 
viduals we meet in our religious societies will be to a certain degree 
different from those we meet in our science and art clubs: and our 
special brand of party politics will give us still other personal con- 
tacts. Thus, while the growth of voluntary associations draws men 
into small groups, it does not necessarily erect sharp barriers between 
the members of these different groups. On the contrary, when a 
person has a variety of group loyalties, these will tend to give him, 
in a variety of directions, bonds of sympathy with a wide range of 
other persons: and this variety of bonds will have a tendency to 
check any one of them from unduly limiting his social horizon. 

Generally speaking, if we allow individuals a generous measure of 
free association for mutual encouragement in the pursuit of such 
aims as are not detrimental to the public interest, we shall be 
supplying favourable conditions for several results which most of us 
regard as desirable. These are, firstly, the development of character 
and enrichment of life in the individual himself: secondly, the 
development of social culture: and thirdly, the development of a 
complex network of relations binding 'individuals directly or in- 
directly to their fellow-citizens, facilitating united action when this 
is required. 

And so we have, I think, discovered the answer to our question: 
What, in the interests of both political and cultural life, is the most 
satisfactory attitude for the state to adopt with respect to culture ? 
The answer, surely, is that it is the business of the state government 

54 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

not to provide a specific form of culture which it seals with its 
approval and enforces by its might, but to provide the basic con- 
ditions in which a society can produce a living, dynamic culture 
appropriate to its character and historical circumstances. These 
conditions are: firstly, order and security on sound principles of 
justice; secondly, the production, and perhaps the actual operation, 
of great utility services which, at any given time, clearly serve the 
general good; and thirdly, facilitating, with the maximum of en- 
couragement and the minimum of control, the formation of voluntary 
associations in which men and women can give free play to their 
minds, educate their characters, and fashion their material and 
mental world in a way which not only ministers to life but also, in 
Aristotle's phrase, conduces to the good life. 

International Organization and Cultural Ideals. We come, now, to 
the final problem which I suggested might appropriately fall within 
the scope of this paper. Supposing that existing national states 
become more closely united, either through regional federations, or 
in a world organization possessing compulsory judicial, legislative 
and executive powers, is this likely to have any profound effect 
upon natural cultures the effect, e.g., of destroying their variety 
and reducing them to dull uniformity? There are many who fear 
that this would be the result : and they do not look forward with any 
pleasure to the day when those local customs, which give individu- 
ality to a people and provoke the curiosity or admiration of the 
foreigner, shall have disappeared. 

In our reflections on this question, which is a serious one, we 
should (in order to keep the main issue clear) assume that any 
federal or international government will have a reasonably accurate 
view of its functions. A foolish one might attempt, as a matter of 
deliberate policy, to iron out national cultural differences in order 
to satisfy some bureaucratic passion for standardization. But we 
have already seen that it would be acting unwisely in taking up this 
attitude. Its legitimate functions will be like those of any other 
political government. Our question must, therefore, be put in the 
form: assuming that our super-state government knows its business 
and sticks to it, will not the very existence of greater political 
unification encourage the growth of uniformity and the decay of 
differences in cultural life? 

Clearly, any effect which International institutions may have will 
be due to the fact that they have created bonds which hold together 
those who previously led independent existences. They will increase 
the facility with which different communities acquire contact with 
and knowledge of each other. We must, therefore, study the effects 
which increased contact and mutual knowledge generally have upon 
the people concerned. Judging from past experience, increased 

55 



PHILOSOPHY 

contact does have a great influence in modifying forms of social life. 
This is most obvious when backward peoples come into contact with 
advanced civilizations, but it is also evident that old established 
cultures can^profoundly influence each other. 

Now there are few thoughtful people who would be prepared to 
say that such influence is wholly bad. Certainly some habits im- 
ported from without could well be dispensed with. It is surely a 
matter for regret that a people can be so unappreciative of its own 
heritage that it will throw valuable elements aside, and demand 
shabby substitutes merely because they are supposed to be thte 
very latest things in sophisticated modernism. But it would be a 
great mistake to suppose that all importations are of this inferior 
type. Indeed, a people's culture is often deeply enriched through 
external influence. If we make a deliberate attempt to exclude this 
influence, the probability is that we shall soon find ourselves treasur- 
ing empty husks from which all that is worth while has disappeared. 
We know that the potentialities of the mind of the individual can 
seldom actualize themselves fully if he lives in isolation. Science, 
philosophy, art, and religion flourish most easily and richly when men 
have ample opportunity of sharing their experience and drawing 
upon each others' ideas. So, also, the development of our social 
heritage profits from our ability to draw upon the experience and 
creative work of other societies. Some of the most brilliant periods 
in the life of a people are the direct result of fresh suggestive con- 
tacts with the world beyond. 

International influence on thought and life is, therefore, not to be 
wholly deplored. At least some such influences have been of great 
benefit; and the attempt to preserve or erect all barriers against 
them the creation of cultural tariff walls requires a very great 
deal of justification. If there are good reasons on political grounds 
for breaking down these barriers, and if the levelling of some of 
them in the past has been of service to national cultures themselves, 
then the onus of proof rest upon those who now wish to retain or 
even heighten them. 

From a judicious consideration of what has been said in the last 
few paragraphs, we can draw a conclusion of some significance. It 
is this: the question from which this discussion originated is not, 
after all, the question of primary importance. Whether cultures are 
to become uniform or remain different is a secondary matter. 
What is really important is that cultures should be as rich as possible, 
and satisfy (so far as may be) our aspirations towards the good life. 
It is true that uniformity has no value in itself. It is equally true 
that difference has no value in itself. Uniformities which render 
co-operation easy, without reducing individuals to mere automata, 
are good Variety which gives scope for individual expression, 

56 



POLITICS AND CULTURE 

without producing confusion, is good. The value of uniformity and 
variety is to be judged in each instance on the merits of the case 
and according to some standard of value. This standard is a full and 
rich life for society, which means the individuals who compose the 
society. Whatever promotes this whether it comes spontaneously 
from within or is borrowed and assimilated from without, whether its 
form is identical in all societies or varies from society to society 
this is the thing which should be fostered. 

Having adopted such a standard of value, we see that the healthy 
Evolution of culture requires a continuous exercise of discriminating 
judgment. While an organism cannot live very long without drawing 
from its environment, it cannot live by simply incorporating what- 
ever offers. It must select what is suitable to its nature, and what 
it has selected it must also transform into living tissue. So societies, 
drawing nutriment from outside themselves, must be discriminating 
in what they receive, and be able to transmute it, so far as this is 
necessary, in the process of assimilation. And here, as so often in 
discussing vital problems of social life, we are thrown back once 
more on the qualities of mind and character of the individual 
members of society. When one looks at the facts squarely and 
frankly, it is plain that, if social habits change, they change because 
a sufficient number of individuals have, wisely or foolishly, desired 
the change. If a society is to be wise in what it admits into or rejects 
from its cultural life, this must be through the mass of individuals 
exercising wise choice. If, therefore, we are anxious to ensure 
healthy development in the evolution of our social culture, the only 
foundation on which we can build with security is that of educating 
the individuals who make up society so that they will choose wisely. 
What form this education ought to take it is not our business here 
to enquire ; but, plainly, it cannot be of that superficial kind which 
consists in stuffing the mind with quantities of so-called knowledge 
to be learned by rote, supplemented by tendentious propaganda. 
If the individual is to meet the onerous demands inevitably made 
upon him as a member of society, he has to be trained, not only by 
instructions as to what he should think, what he should like, and 
how he should act, but also by the development of his mind and 
character so that he will know how to think, how to discriminate 
between what he should and should not like, and what are the 
principles on which he ought to act. 

To anyone who approaches the question of cultural development 
and cultural conservation in this, the only proper attitude, the 
existence of the widest possible political organization of which we 
are capable will appear not as in any sense an evil but as highly 
desirable. It will afford that order and security within which men 
can turn their attention more and more to the positive enrichment 

57 



PHILOSOPHY 

of life. I suppose that, however comprehensively men may be 
organized politically, they will always tend to be attracted into 
smaller societies within the larger whole; and if there are world-wide 
institutions providing ordered security, every such smaller society 
can more easily draw from the vast reservoir of social experience 
such elements as are best suited to its particular needs. 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY : 
PROPOSITIONS AND CONSCIOUSNESS* 

SYDNEY E. HOOPER, M.A. 

Ijj earlier articles I explained the fundamental entities in the Organic 
Philosophy, namely: actual entities or actual occasions, and eternal 
objects. But there is also a third type of entity called "propositions," 
very important for the introduction of novelty into our world, and 
indispensable for "consciousness" and the higher phases of ex- 
perience. Before discussing Consciousness and these higher phases, 
it is necessary, therefore, to give an account of propositions. 



Propositions 2 

A proposition is a complex consisting of a definite actual entity 
or nexus of actual entities, and an eternal object standing in the 
relation of "potentially" qualifying the nexus as a predicate or 
predicative pattern. The feeling of an actual entity, entertaining a 
proposition as an objective datum, is called a prepositional feeling. 
Now, a prepositional feeling does not itself involve consciousness, 
but this much can be said: all forms of consciousness arise from 
the integration of a prepositional feeling either with physical feelings 
or conceptual feelings. We learnt in earlier articles that "physical" 
feelings are the prehensions whose objective data are actual entities, 
and that "conceptual" feelings are prehensions whose objective data 
are eternal objects. A prepositional feeling is a special typo of inte- 
gration, synthesizing a physical feeling with a conceptual feeling. 
The objective datum of the physical feeling can be either one actual 
entity or a nexus of actual entities. (If the objective datum be only 
one actual entity, the physical feeling will be "simple." If it be a 
nexus of actual entities, the physical feeling will clearly be more 
complex.) On the other hand, the datum of the conceptual feeling 
will be an eternal object. The point to grasp is that the prehension 
of a "proposition" involved a unique type of feeling which is a 
synthesis of (a) a physical feeling with (6) a conceptual feeling. Such 
a synthetic feeling is a propositional feeling. 

Whitehead defines a proposition as "the 'potentiality' of an eternal 
object, as a determinant of definiteness, in some mode of restricted 

1 Paper read to the Jowett Society, Oxford, November 15, 1944. 
Cf. Process and Reality, pp. 342, et seq. 



PHILOSOPHY 

reference to a nexus of actual entities called the 'logical subjects'." 1 
I will try and make clear what the definition means. In the genesis 
of a proposition, a definite nexus of actual entities informed by an 
eternal object, suffers attenuation of concrete physical status through 
a process of abstraction, thereby becoming mere "food for a possi- 
bility/' Although the given nexus in rerum natura retains its definite 
actuality, the same nexus when it appears in a proposition, is trans- 
formed into an abstract set of mere "relata," in which condition it 
is only "potentially" (not actually) informed by an eternal object. 
These abstract relata are the "logical subjects" of the proposition. 
It will thus be seen that Propositions are neither actual entities, 
nor eternal objects, nor feelings. In truth a Proposition is a new 
kind of entity embodying a "potentiality." It may be regarded as 
a hybrid between pure potentialities and actualities. Whitehead 
picturesquely describes such entities as "the tales that might perhaps 
be told of particular actualities." 

An illustration given by him enables us to understand the nature 
of propositions. Consider the Battle of Waterloo. It resulted in the 
defeat of Napoleon and the constitution of the actual modern world 
has been partly determined by the defeat. The course of history 
would have been different had Napoleon been victorious. Now the 
abstract notions expressing such hypothetical alternatives are 
generally relevant to the events which actually happened. This 
relevance is demonstrated by the mere fact that we sometimes 
think about the question concerning what the subsequent course of 
European history would have been, had Napoleon been victorious. 
Even though we may dismiss such alternatives from our minds as 
too remote to demand serious attention, the fact that we have 
entertained the ideas demonstrates the relevance of such an hypo- 
thetical alternative. (Who of us, in our own day, in far different 
circumstances, has not reflected on the question "What would have 
been the course of the second Great War if the Battle of Britain 
had not been won by the R.A.F.?") "Thus," says Whitehead, "in 
our actual world to-day, there is a penumbra of eternal objects, 
constituted by relevance to the Battle of Waterloo. Some people 
admit elements from this penumbral complex into effectual feeling, 

* The following is a brief explanation of the difference between "singular," 
"general" and "universal" propositions. "A 'singular* proposition is the 
potentiality of an actual world including a definite set of actual entities in 
a nexus of reactions involving the hypothetical ingression of a definite set 
of eternal objects. 

A 'general' proposition only differs from a 'singular' proposition by the 
generalization of 'one definite set of actual entities,' into 'any set belonging 
to a certain sort of sets/ If the sort of sets includes all sets with potentiality 
for that nexus of reactions, the proposition is called 'universal' (cf . P. & R., 
p. 262). 

60 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

and others wholly exclude them. Some are conscious of this decision 
of admission or rejection; for others the ideas float into their minds 
as day-dreams without conscious or deliberate decision; for others, 
their emotional tone, of gratification or regret, of friendliness or 
hatred, is obviously influenced by this penumbra of alternatives 
without any consciousness of control." 1 

The brief explanation given above, with the illustration supplied 
by Whitehead himself, will serve as a first statement of the nature 
of a proposition; but it is not enough, and I will now elaborate a 
Ifttle more fully. 

In the first place in a proposition the eternal object, which per- 
forms the role of the predicate or predicative pattern of the nexus 
of actual entities, is modified or attenuated in respect of its generality. 
How is it modified? In this way. An eternal object in its pure or 
intrinsic status enjoys absolute generality. Its relevance in respect 
of actualization does not refer to this or that actual entity, or to 
this or that nexus of actual entities, in the existing world, but 
merely to any actual entity or nexus. That is to say, its relevance 
in respect of ingression is absolutely general. In its pure or intrinsic 
status it can show no preference for a particular actual entity or 
selection of actual entities. Its role is exclusively to ingress into any 
actual entity or selection that may be relevant for the creative 
advance of the world. But in the proposition (which we have already 
learned is a complex consisting of a definite actual entity or nexus, 
and an eternal object) the eternal object has forfeited its absolute 
generality, since it now refers to a definite selection of actual entities. 
The actual entities involved in a proposition are called the "logical 
subjects"* of the proposition; and the eternal object, in respect to 
its possibilities as a determinant of nexus, is restricted to these logical 
subjects. This is the reason for its forfeiture of its pure original 
generality. 

In a prepositional feeling there is an integration of physical 
feelings derived from a definite selection of actual entities, with the 
conceptual feeling derived from an eternal object; and since the 
physical feeling is bound up with this determinate set of actual 
entities, indicated by their felt physical relationships to the subject 
of the propositional feeling, the eternal object is restricted in its 
application to this selection of actual entities. Hence in the fusion 
of the physical and conceptual feeling which constitutes a proposi- 
tional feeling, the absolute generality of reference of the eternal 
object is eliminated. It now enjoys a restricted reference only, namely, 

P. &R., p. 262. 

The logical subjects are in the old sense of the word "particulars". They 
are not concepts in comparison with other concepts : they are particulars in 
a potential pattern. 

61 



PHILOSOPHY 

to the selected nexus of actual entities from which the physical 
feeling is derived. In other words, the eternal object in the proposi- 
tion is a potential predicate or predicative pattern of just that 
selected nexus of actual entities the "logical subjects" of the 
proposition. Consequently it no longer has the status of absolute 
generality. Thus we see that the proposition is the potentiality of 
an eternal object "as a determinant of definiteness, in some deter- 
minate mode of restricted reference to the logical subjects." In other 
words the eternal object is the "predicative pattern" of the proposi- 
tion. The proposition itself may refer to the logical subjects in one 
or other of three different ways. They may be indicated (i) as these 
logical subjects in this predicative pattern, (2) as any of these logical 
subjects in this pattern, (3) as some of these logical subjects in this 
pattern. It is to be noted once more that it is the physical feeling 
in the complex that indicates the logical subjects, giving to each of 
them such definition as is necessary for its assigned status in the 
potential pattern. 

In the second place, besides a restriction of generality in respect of the 
eternal object in a proposition, there is also (as we have seen) a modi- 
fication of the nexus of actual entities forming its other pole. How 
does this take place ? The answer is that their real role in actuality 
suffers abstraction : they no longer have the solid dignity of being fac- 
tors in fact, except for the purpose of their physical indication. Each 
logical subject in the proposition becomes a bare "if 9 among actual 
things, with its assigned hypothetical relevance to the eternal object 
functioning as predicate. In other words the logical subjects of a 
proposition resign their role as constituents of fact and, in the 
language of Whitehead, are reduced to the status of "food for a 
possibility." This is how it occurs. Normally, actual entities are 
objectified with a certain distinctive richness of content. But in a 
proposition the richness of the objectifications is eliminated, and all 
that remains is the objectification of actual entities as a nexus of 
"its," each member of which has suffered deprivation of its unique 
essence. The nexus is reduced to a community of bare "relata," 
with elimination of the eternal object constituting the definiteness 
of that nexus. The objectification does nothing more but indicate 
that definiteness which logical subjects must have in order to be 
"hypothetical food for" the predicate of the proposition. But it 
should be noted that even the bare pointing to logical subjects as 
characterless "relata," makes it necessary that there should be an 
actual world constituting for them a systematic environment. Even 
logical subjects, to have any position at all, need an actual world, 
since there can be no position in pure abstraction. 

We thus see that in a proposition (i) the eternal object forfeits its 
absolute generality denoted by the word "any/' becoming a potential 
62 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

predicate for an indicated nexus; and (ii) the actual entities or 
logical subjects, are deprived of their function as "factors in fact/' 
by being reduced to so many bare "relata." In short, the proposition 
is the possibility of that predicate applying in that assigned way to 
those logical subjects. It is interesting, at this point, to compare a 
pure eternal object and a proposition. Both are definite potentialities 
for actuality with undetermined realization in actuality. But they 
differ in the range of their generality, "since an eternal object refers 
to actuality with absolute generality, whereas a proposition refers 
to indicated logical subjects/' 1 

At this stage, it is appropriate to say a word concerning the truth 
and falsehood of propositions. Although in every proposition there 
is complete indetermination in respect of its realization in a preposi- 
tional feeling, and as regards its own truth, nevertheless, since the 
logical subjects are in fact actual entities having definite mutual 
relations, the proposition is either true or false. But as Whitehead 
says, "its own truth, or its own falsity, is no business of a proposition. 
That question concerns only a subject entertaining a propositional 
feeling with that proposition for its datum/' As we have seen from 
an earlier article on "Actual Entities," such a subject is called the 
"prehending subject" of the process of concrescence. And Whitehead 
warns us not to confuse a "prehending subject" with a "judging 
subject." He says "even a prehending subject is not necessarily 
judging the proposition." When the question of the truth or false- 
hood of propositions is a relevant issue, some element of sheer 
giveness is necessary to determine their truth or falsity. Even eternal 
objects cannot demonstrate what they are except in some definite 
given fact, and, in a proposition, it is the logical subjects that 
supply the element of givenness requisite for judging its truth or 
falsity. 

* * * * * 

Certain Characteristics of Propositions 

We may mention a number of interesting points concerning this 
propositional type of entity. Firstly, a proposition has neither the 
particularity of a feeling nor the reality of a nexus. It is a datum, 
suspended, as it were, in a restricted realm of possibility, awaiting 
a subject to feel it. Because its logical subjects supply it with a 
relevance to the actual world, a proposition functions as "a lure for 
feeling." It invites a subject to be its host, and promises, at least, 
some entertainment in return. Because a proposition is a "poten- 
tiality/' like an eternal object, it is never tied to any particular 
subject who happens to feel it. Many subjects at the same time or 
at different times and places may feel it with diverse feelings. All 

P. & R., p. 366. 



PHILOSOPHY 

that is necessary, so far as the proposition is concerned, is that it 
should be relevant, in the circumstances, to the subject who enter- 
tains it in response to its lure. Secondly, a proposition is not the 
same thing as a judgment. Propositions certainly are judged, but 
what is judged is not the judging. Judging is one of the higher phases 
of mental life which we shall deal with in a later article, but it is 
important not to confuse it with a proposition. Judgment feelings 
arise from a special sort of integration of propositional feelings with 
other feelings, and not from propositional feelings alone. Thirdly, the 
function of propositions is to stimulate mental interest, rather thaA 
to be true or false. Whitehead on this matter makes an arresting 
remark; "in the real world it is more important that a proposition 
be interesting than that it be true. The importance of truth is, that 
it adds to interest." 1 Do we not say "Truth is stranger than fiction" ? 
Thus once again we see that the role of propositions is to be a lure 
for feeling, dangling before subjects who are mentally alert the 
novelties that await acceptance or rejection in the actual world. 
Fourthly, although propositional feelings are not in their simplest 
expression, conscious feelings, in certain integrations which have 
propositional feelings as components, consciousness does arise. 
Fifthly, it is to be noted that the physical feeling, which is always 
a component of a synthetic propositional feeling, has no unique 
relation to the proposition involved; nor indeed has the subject of 
that feeling prehending the proposition. Provided the requisite 
logical subjects are included in its objective datum, any subject 
whatsoever, with any physical feeling, can in a supervening phase 
of its concrescence entertain a propositional feeling with the pro- 
position in question as its datum. As Whitehead explains: "it has 
only to originate a conceptual feeling with the requisite predicative 
pattern as its datum, and then to integrate the two feelings into 
the required propositional feeling." 2 But, of course, no subject can 
feel a proposition unless the logical subjects are in its own world. 
Aristotle, for example, could not have entertained the proposition 
"Hannibal has crossed the Alps," for the simple reason that the nexus 
of events constituting Hannibal and his arduous journey, had not 
been actualized in the lifetime of Aristotle, and, consequently, they 
were not in his world. This illustration brings out two points con- 
cerning propositions. Firstly, it is clear that new propositions come 
into being with the creative advance of the world. Although the 
logical subjects of the proposition " 'Hannibal 1 has crossed the Alps" 
had no existence for Aristotle, they certainly had for Fabius, some 
hundred years later. Secondly, it is interesting to note that the 
verbal statement of the proposition includes words and phrases 
which symbolise the sort of physical feelings necessary to indicate the 
* P. & R., p. 366. > Ibid., p. 367. 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

logical subjects of the proposition, for instance, "Hannibal" crossing 
the Alps in the above example. 1 



All actual entities have their own actual worlds, and those whose 
actual worlds include the logical subjects (which, we may recall, are 
a nexus of actual entities attenuated to a nexus of bare "relata"), 
are said to fall within the "locus' 1 of the given proposition. All those 
actual entities enjoying the privilege of dwelling within the "locus" 
of' any proposition, can, if desired, prehend the proposition as a 
phase in their own concrescence. 

It is important to understand that a prepositional feeling can 
arise only in a late phase of the concrescent process of the prehending 
subject. The reason for this is that before a prepositional feeling 
can arise, there must have been certain earlier phases involving: 
"(a) a physical feeling whose objective datum includes the requisite 
logical subjects, (b) a physical feeling involving a certain eternal 
object among the forms of definiteness of its datum; and (c) the 
conceptual feeling of this eternal object necessarily derived from the 
physical feeling under heading (6)." Perhaps also there may be 
required a novel conceptual feeling (according to the category of 
conceptual reversion) "conforming" to the earlier conceptual feeling 
(c) but differing slightly from it and engendered by the subjective 
aim of the concrescing process. This reverted conceptual feeling we 
may call (d).* 

Whitehead terms the physical feeling under heading (a) the 
"indicative feeling" (because it indicates the logical subjects); the 
physical feeling under heading (b) is called the "physical recognition." 
The physical recognition is important, because it is the physical 
basis of the conceptual feeling which provides the predicative pattern. 
The predicative pattern is either the eternal object which gives rise 
to the conceptual feeling under (c) or it is the novel eternal object 
giving rise to the conceptual feeling we have called (d). If "c" is 
the eternal objective providing the pattern, then "d" becomes 
irrelevant ; but in either case the conceptual feeling whose datum is 
the predicative pattern is called the "predicative feeling." That is 
to say, the predicative feeling is the conceptual feeling of the eternal 
object providing the predicative pattern of the nexus. 

We are now in a position to understand the genesis of a preposi- 
tional feeling in one of the later phases of the concrescence of an 
actual entity. Its origin lies in the integration of what has been 

1 "Hannibal" in its least abstract form, stands for a society of settled 
actual entities with their objectifications consciously perceived by the 
subject. The word "Alps" is to be explained in the same way. 

P. & R., p. 368. 

E 65 



PHILOSOPHY 

called the "indicative feeling" with the "predicative feeling." Notice 
that in this integration the two data are synthesized, and that in 
the synthesis a double elimination takes place in respect of both 
data. On the one hand, the actual entities involved in the datum 
of the indicative feeling are reduced to a multiplicity of mere "relata" 
in which each is a bare "it." On the other hand, the eternal object 
constituting the real definiteness of that nexus is eliminated so far 
as its absolute generality is concerned, and transformed into a 
"restricted predicate," referring to "just those" logical subjects and 
to none other. Nevertheless, in the integration, the logical subjects 
are rescued from their mere multiplicity of abstract relata by being 
placed in the unity of a proposition, with a given predicative pattern. 
Thus we see that in a proposition, actualities which were first felt 
as sheer matter of fact, are transformed into a set of logical subjects 
with the potentiality of realizing an assigned predicative pattern. 
And so we come back to the conception of a proposition as a nexus 
of actual entities, attenuated by the deprivation of their primary 
richness of content into an abstract set of bare "relata" or "logical 
subjects," standing in the relation of being "potentially" qualified 
by an eternal object, itself reduced in rank to a "predicative pattern" 
with restricted generality. Propositions are not primarily for belief, 
but for feeling at the physical level of consciousness. As Whitehead 
puts it, "they constitute a source for the origination of feeling which 
is not tied down to mere datum." 1 Consequently we see that such 
experiences as "horror," "relief," "purpose" are primarily feelings 
involving the entertainment of propositions. 

Different sorts of Prepositional Feelings and How Propositions are Felt 
Having attempted in the foregoing sections to make clear what 
propositions are, it is now necessary to explain how they are felt. 
The nature of a proposition makes it completely impartial in 
respect of the various subjects prehending it; and it does not fully 
determine how it is "felt" by various subjects. That is to say, the 
proposition does not fully determine the subjective form of its pre- 
hension. Although a proposition may be an identical datum for a 
number of different subjects, the way in which the proposition is 
felt by these different subjects will vary according to differences 
in their histories. The different sorts of prepositional feelings (i.e. 
how the proposition is felt) are divided by Whitehead into two 
main types, (a) "perceptive feelings," and (b) "imaginative feelings." 
The difference between these two types of feeling is founded on the 
comparison between the "indicative feeling," from which the logical 
subjects are derived, and the "physical recognition," from which the 

1 P. <S> R., p. 263. 
66 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

predicative pattern is derived. Now these physical feelings are 
either identical or different. If they are one and the same feeling, the 
derived prepositional feeling is called a "perceptive feeling," because 
in this case "the proposition predicates of its logical subjects a 
character derived from the way in which they are physically felt 
by that prehending subject/' 1 But if the physical feelings be different, 
the derived prepositional feeling is called an "imaginative feeling." 
It is called "imaginative" because in the latter case, seeing that the 
predicate is derived from the physical feeling termed "physical 
recognition," "the proposition predicates of its logical subjects a 
character without any guarantee of close relevance to the logical sub- 
jects which are derived from the 'indicative feeling.' "* Nevertheless, 
Whitehead tells us, the distinction between these two types of 
prepositional feeling is not so sharp-cut as might be supposed, 
because, although the two physical feelings ("indicative feeling" 
and "physical recognition") may exhibit a wide difference, they may 
be almost identical. What we can say generally is this. In proportion 
to the degree of diversity between the two physical feelings in 
question, there will be a corresponding free play of the imagination. 
A proposition, which is the datum of an imaginative feeling, has a 
predicate derived from a nexus differing in some respects from the 
nexus providing the logical subjects. Because of this the proposition 
is felt as an imaginative notion concerning the logical subjects, instead 
of perceptively. In imaginative feeling there are two disconnected 
physical feelings involved in the first stage of its genesis. In perceptive 
feeling the two physical feelings are identical, and the emotional 
pattern reflects the close connection of the predicate with the logical 
subjects. It may be repeated that the proposition in its own nature 
gives no hint as to how it should be felt. In one prehending subject, 
the proposition may be the datum of a perceptive feeling, in another 
it may be the datum of an imaginative feeling. But whether a pro- 
position is felt perceptively or imaginatively, it can at least be said 
that the subjective forms of the two feelings will differ according to 
the differences of the origination of those feelings in their respective 
subjects. 

This account should make clear what constitutes the difference 
between "perceptive feelings" and "imaginative feelings" in the 

theory of Propositions. 



"Authentic" and "Unauthentic" Perceptive Feelings 

It is important to bear in mind, that the predicative feeling (i.e. 
the feeling prehending the eternal object in the proposition) may 
have arisen in the prehending subject by reversion. That is to say, 

' P. & R., p. 370. * Ibid. 



PHILOSOPHY 

some conceptual feeling (d) which is a reversion from the former 
conceptual feeling, involving another eternal object, according to 
Category V, may have emerged. When this is the case, the predicate 
has in it some elements which really contribute to the definiteness of 
the nexus; but it has also some elements which contrast with corres- 
ponding elements in the nexus. These latter elements, says White- 
head, have been introduced into the concrescence by the subject 
influenced by its own "aim/ 1 Consequently, the predicate is distorted 
from the truth by the peculiar subjectivity of the prehending 
subject. A perceptive feeling of this kind is termed "unauthentic."' 
Whitehead now invites us to consider the three species of perceptive 
feelings, which in turn shade into each other. 

(I) Should the predicative pattern of a proposition be derived 
straight from the physical feeling called "physical recognition/' 
so that there is no reversion introduced by the prehending subject, 
then the prepositional perceptive feeling, by virtue of its modes of 
origination, is termed "authentic/' It is authentic because such a 
feeling, "by virtue of its modes of origination, has as its datum a 
proposition whose predicate is in some way realized in the real 
nexus of logical subjects" 1 i.e. a predicate derived from the real 
nexus, and not refracted by the prehending subject. But it should 
be noted that notwithstanding this congruence of the predicate 
with the real nexus in an authentic perceptive feeling, the 
proposition need not be true, "so far as concerns the way in 
which it implicates the logical subjects with the predicate," and for 
this reason. The primary physical feeling of that nexus by the 
prehending subject may have involved "transmutation" (that is 
to say, the prehending subject may have transmuted the datum 
of a "conceptual" feeling derived from its analogous physical feelings 
of various actual entities in its actual world, into a characteristic 
of the nexus containing those prehended actual entities among its 
members Category VI). In such a case, as Whitehead puts it, "the 
proposition ascribes to its logical subjects the physical enjoyment 
of a nexus with the definition of its predicate ; whereas that predicate 
may have only been enjoyed conceptually. Thus, what the proposition 
proposes as a physical fact in the nexus, was in truth only a mental 
fact." 2 And he points out that unless this position is understood, 
error will arise. The function of such understanding belongs to the 
subjective forms. 

The case just stated is that of an "authentic" perceptive feeling 
entertaining a proposition which need not be true. 

(II) "But if the primary physical feeling involves no reversion 
in any stage, then the predicate of the proposition is that eternal 
object which constitutes the definiteness of that nexus. In such a 

1 P. <& R. t p. 371. 
68 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

case the proposition is, without qualification, true" 1 Such an 
authentic perceptive feeling is termed ''direct. 

Thus there are "indirect" perceptive feelings (when "reversion" 
is involved) and "direct" perceptive feelings. Both indirect perceptive 
feelings, and direct perceptive feelings are said to be different species 
of the "authentic" type of perceptive feelings. It is to be noted on 
the one hand that in the case of these "authentic" feelings, "the 
predicate has realization in the nexus, physically or ideally, apart 
from any reference to the prehending subject."* 
" (III) On the other hand, "unauthentic" perceptive feelings are 
asserted to be derived from a "tied" imagination "in the sense that 
there is only one physical basis for the whole origination, namely, 
that physical feeling which is both the 'indicative' feeling, and 
the 'physical recognition/ The imagination is tied to one ultimate 
fact. "3 In other words, in unauthentic perceptive feelings the 
subject by its own process of reversion, has produced for the logical 
subjects "a predicate which has no immediate relevance to the 
nexus, either as physical fact or as conceptual functioning in 
the nexus."4 

So much for the explanation of "authentic" and "unauthentic" 
perceptive feelings of a proposition. 

Whitehead tells us that the subjective forms of prepositional 
feelings "are dominated by valuation, rather than by consciousness." 
This is how he explains the matter. In a pure prepositional feeling, 

1 P. & R., p. 371. 2 Ibid., p. 372. 

3 Ibid., p. 372. Note: On page 357 of Process and Reality, Whitehead 
says: "The reversion may originate in the separate actualities of the nexus, 
or in the final prehending subject, or there may be a double reversion involving 
both sources." It appears that perceptive feelings in which the reversion 
originates in the prehending subject are "unauthentic," and that the "indirect" 
type of perceptive feeling, even though associated with reversion of the first 
kind ("originating in the separate actualities of the nexus"), is still "authentic." 

On pp. 379-381 of Process and Reality Whitehead says: "Without quali- 
fication 'direct* perceptive feeling feels its logical subjects as potentially 
invested with a predicate expressing an intrinsic character of the nexus which 
is the initial datum of the physical feeling. 

With qualification, this statement is also true of an 'indirect' feeling. The 
qualification is that the secondary conceptual feelings entertained in the nexus 
by reason of reversion (cf . Categorical Condition V) have been transmuted so 
as to be felt in the subject (the final subject of the conscious perception) as if 
they had been physical facts in the nexus. . . . 

It is important to note that even authentic physical feelings can distort 
the character of the nexus felt by transmuting felt concept into felt physical 
fact. In this way authentic perceptive feelings can introduce error into 
thought, and transmuted physical feelings can introduce novelty into the 
physical world. Such novelty may be either fortunate or disastrous. But the 
point is that novelty in the physical world, and error in authentic perceptive 
feeling, arise by conceptual functioning according to the category of reversion." 

P. <S* /?., p. 381. 



PHILOSOPHY 

the logical subjects, whilst preserving their indicated particularity, 
have lost their own real modes of objectification. This was elaborated 
in an earlier section. Consequently, "the subjective form lies in the 
twilight zone between pure physical feeling and the clear conscious- 
ness which apprehends the contrast between physical feeling and 
imagined possibility." The correct way of regarding a prepositional 
feeling is as "a lure to creative emergence in the transcendent 
future/' When it is functioning as a "lure," the prepositional feeling 
about the logical subjects of the proposition may, in some subsequent 
phase, promote a "decision" which involves intensification of some 
physical feeling of the logical subjects in the nexus. Consequently, 
according to the various categorical conditions, propositions are 
said to "intensify, attenuate, inhibit, or transmute, without neces- 
sarily entering into clear consciousness or encountering judgment." 1 

Whitehead points out that from this function of propositions it 
follows that in the pursuit of truth even physical feelings must be 
criticized, since their evidence is not final apart from an analysis 
of their origination. He says "This conclusion merely confirms 
what is a commonplace in all scientific investigation, that we can 
never start from dogmatic certainty. Such certainty is always an 
ideal to which we approximate as the result of critical analysis. . . . 
There can be no immediate guarantee of the truth of a proposition 
by reason of the mode of origination of the prepositional feeling, 
apart from a critical scrutiny of that mode of origination. The feeling 
has to be (i) perceptive, (ii) authentic, and (iii) direct. . ." 

The quotation just given is a fitting end to an account of White- 
head's theory of propositions, and we can now turn to consider what 
part they play in consciousness and the higher phases of experience. 3 

1 P. <S- /?., p. 373. The term "decision" here means the phase which is the 
outcome of valuation, either favourable (ad version) or unfavourable (aversion) . 
Such valuation is a type of "physical purpose" since it is the agent whereby 
the decision is made as to the causal efficacy of the subject of the conceptual 
feeling with its valuation, in its objectifications beyond itself. 

a Ibid., p. 373. N.B.: It should be noted that the proposition which 
is the datum of an imaginative feeling may be true. 

3 Whitehead points out that there are two types of relationship between 
a proposition and the actual world. A proposition may be either conformal or 
non-conformal to the actual world, true or false. When it is conformal, the 
admission into feeling of the proposition "simply results in the conformation 
of feeling with fact. . . . The prehension of the proposition has merely abruptly 
emphasized one form of definiteness illustrated in fact." But when a non-con- 
formal proposition is admitted into feeling, there occurs a synthesis of fact 
with the alternative potentiality of the complex predicate. When this happens 
a novelty emerges in the creative process, and the consequences may be for- 
tunate or disastrous. But whether they turn out to be the one or the other, 
at least something new has been introduced into the world. "This novelty may 
promote or destroy order; it may be good or bad, but it is a new type of 

70 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

Consciousness 

It has been said that a prepositional feeling is the feeling or 
prehension of a proposition. Now the subjective form of the pro- 
positional feeling will depend on circumstances. It may, or may 
not, involve consciousness, and it may, or may not, involve judgment. 
But it will at least involve the attitude of aversion or adversiori, 
that is to say "decision." Consciousness will be present when what 
is called the "affirmation-negation contrast has entered into the 
subjective form of the prepositional feeling. That is to say, con- 
sciousness will be present in experience, when certain feelings are 
components in an integral feeling whose datum is the contrast 
between a nexus which is and a proposition which in its own nature 
negates the decision of its truth and falsehood. To understand this 
description of consciousness, it is necessary to elaborate tho theme. 

From earlier articles, we have learnt that mental activity is one 
of the modes of feeling belonging to all actual entities. But in the 
Organic Philosophy, mental activity is not a synonym for conscious- 
ness. Consciousness only arises in some actual entities and in certain 
conditions. What then is consciousness, and what are the conditions 
of its appearance? First of all, it should be noted that consciousness 
presupposes "experience," and not experience consciousness. Con- 
sciousness is a special element in the subjective forms of some feelings 
or prehensions. And because consciousness depends upon a special 
type of subjective form, an actual entity though conscious in respect 
of some parts of its experience, may be unconscious in respect of 
other parts. Its experience is wider than its consciousness, for this 
experience includes all those prehensions of other things exercising 
their functions as components of its being; but it may be conscious, 
if at all, only in respect of a few of such prehensions. It must be 
emphasized that the subjective aim of an actual entity is not 
primarily intellectual: it is the "lure for feeling," and so mental 
operations do not necessarily involve consciousness. Every actual 
entity contributes to the circumstances out of which it has arisen, 
novel formative elements deepening its own unique individuality. 
Consciousness is only the last and greatest of such elements, by 
which the individual, expressing its character as essentially "selec- 
tive," dims and obscures the external totality from which it originates 
and which it embodies. In the Organic Philosophy, what Locke 
called the "ideas of particular things" are those other things exer- 
cising their function as felt components in the constitution of an 
actual entity; and the experiqnce of the actual entity is its complete 
formal constitution, including its consciousness (should it enjoy any). 

individual, and not merely a new intensity of individual feeling." Thus, propo- 
sitions in their primary role "pave the way along which the world advances 
into novelty," and error is often the price paid for this advance. 

7* 



PHILOSOPHY 

In this connection, Whitehead remarks: "If Locke had not inherited 
the dualistic separation of mind and body if he had started with 
the one fundamental notion of an actual entity, the complex of 
ideas disclosed in consciousness would have at once turned into the 
complex constitution of the actual entity, disclosed in its own 
consciousness so far as it is conscious fitfully, partially, or not at 
all." 1 In brief, the Organic Philosophy abolishes the detached mind. 
"Mind" is the complex of mental operation involved in the constitu- 
tion of an actual entity, and consciousness only arises in one of 
these operations when it is characterized by a special type of sub- 
jective form. 

Generally speaking, it may be said that consciousness is a certain 
way of feeling the contrast between the fact which is "given" and 
a mere "possibility." Or to put it in another way, consciousness is 
the way of feeling a real nexus of actual entities in contrast with 
imaginative feeling about it. When the origination of a conscious 
feeling is analysed, there are always to be found two components. 
On the one hand there are physical feelings derived from actual fact, 
and, on the other, there is conceptual feeling concerning a poten- 
tiality. It is this abstract element in the concrete situation that 
provokes consciousness, which is nothing else but the subjective 
form of a synthetic feeling integrating the physical feeling as a 
factual process with the conceptual feeling of a potentiality. The 
content of this integrated feeling is thus a contrast between either 
"what actuality is" and "might not be," or "what actuality is not" 
and yet "might be": between a fact and a possibility and the 
subjective form of this feeling of contrast is consciousness. Con- 
sciousness is how the affirmation-negation contrast is felt ; the contrast 
between the affirmation of objectified fact in the physical feeling, 
and the mere potentiality which is the negation of such affirmation 
in the prepositional feeling. In the integral synthetic feeling, there 
are two components: (i) the basic physical feeling of a nexus of 
actual entities and (2) a propositional feeling of that same nexus 
regarded as mere "logical subjects" informed by a potential predicate. 
The conscious perception, which arises in a feeling integrating these 
two components, is the comparative feeling of contrast emerging 
from the synthesis. We thus see that a propositional feeling is a 
necessary constituent in a conscious experience. Indeed, all forms of 
consciousness arise from ways of integration of propositional feelings 
with other feelings, either physical or conceptual. 

On this subject Whitehead makes the following arresting state- 
ment, which, like a meteor, lights up the whole path of the dis- 
cussion: "The triumph of consciousness comes with the negative 
intuitive judgment. In this case there is a conscious feeling of what 

' P. & R. t p. 73. 
72 



WHITEHEAD f S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

might be and is not. The feeling concerns the definite negative 
prehensions enjoyed by the subject. It is the feeling of absence, and 
it feels this absence as provided by the definite exclusiveness of what 
is really present. Thus the explicitness of negation, which is a 
peculiar character of consciousness, is here at its maximum. 1 ' 1 We 
may illustrate this statement thus: consider the experience of 
"perceiving this tone as not grey. 1 ' Here the "grey" has ingression 
in its full character as a conceptual novelty, illustrating an alter- 
native. Whereas in the positive case "perceiving this stone as grey," 
the grey has ingression in its character as a possible novelty, but in 
fact by its conformity, emphasizing the given grey blindly felt. On 
the one hand, "in the perception of 'the stone as grey/ conscious 
feeling is in barest germ; on the other, in the perception 'the stone 
as not grey/ such feeling is in full development." 2 If we see clearly 
the difference in these two experiences of negative and positive 
perception, we shall understand Whitehead's assertion that negative 
perception is the "triumph of consciousness." 

According to the Organic Philosophy, consciousness only arises in 
a late derivative phase of a process of complex integrations a phase 
eHciting into feeling the full contrast between mere propositional 
potentiality and realized fact. In any given actual entity, it may 
happen that a phase of this sort is negligible in its consciousness; 
then in its experience there is no knowledge. On the other hand, 
such a phase may be essential to the complete concrescence; then 
there is knowledge. Consciousness primarily illuminates the higher 
phase of the process in which it arises, and only illuminates earlier 
phases derivatively in so far as they are components in the higher 
phase. But those elements in our mind which are consciously clear 
and distinct are not its basic facts. Even at its highest level, con- 
sciousness illuminates clearly and distinctly but a small focal region, 
and dimly the large penumbral region indicating rich and intense 
experience in the background. But whenever there is consciousness, 
it recalls, in some degree, earlier phases from the obscure and vague 
recesses of the unconscious, and thus, in a wide sense, can be said 
to enlighten experiences which precede it. 

It has been said above, that those elements in our experience 
which have vivid consciousness are not the basic facts of mind. To 
bring this point home, Whitehead asks us to notice that prehensions 
in the mode of causal efficacy (i.e. the vague perception of "the hand 
of the settled past in the formation of the present," an experience 
"heavy with the contact of the things gone by, which lay their grip 
on our immediate selves") are only dimly illuminated by con- 
sciousness, because these prehensions are primitive elements in our 
experience. But prehensions in the mode of presentational immediacy 
Cf. P. 6- /?., p. 387. * Ibid., pp. 225-26. 

73 



PHILOSOPHY 

(i.e. sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touches; the decorations of a 
world "gay with a thousand tints, passing and intrinsically meaning- 
less"), are among the prehensions which we enjoy with the most 
vivid consciousness. These prehensions of vivid experience are, in 
Whitehead's view, late derivatives in the concrescence of an experient 
subject; whereas the vague, heavy experience of the present, con- 
forming to the hand of the settled past, is the basic primitive mode 
of perception. Incidentally it may here be mentioned that in White- 
head's view the neglect of the recognition of the "law" that the late 
derivative elements we experience are more clearly illuminated b^ 
consciousness than the primitive elements, has been fatal to a 
satisfactory theory of knowledge. In fact "most of the difficulties of 
Philosophy arq produced by this neglect. Experience has been 
explained in a thorough topsy-turvy fashion, the wrong end first. 
In particular emotional and perceptual experience has been made to 
follow upon Hume's impressions of sensation." 1 But, in Whitehead's 
view, this is sheer error. He says "the confinement of our prehension 
of other actual entities to the mediation of private sensations is pure 
myth. The converse doctrine is nearer the truth. The more primitive 
mode of objectification is via emotional tone, and only in exceptional 
organisms does objectification via sensation supervene with any 
effectiveness." 1 He goes on to say that we prebend other actual 
entities more primitively by direct mediation of emotional tone and 
only secondarily and waveringly through direct mediation of our 
senses. Physiologically this amotional tone depends for the most 
part on the condition of the viscera which "are peculiarly effective 
in generating sensations." It is true that the two modes of perception 
fuse with important effects upon our knowledge; but it is essential 
to recognize that experiences of causal efficacy are the basic facts 
of mind, and those of presentational immediacy later derivatives. 
The former, and not the latter, have metaphysical priority. 

Summing up, it can be said that consciousness, like everything 
else, is ultimately indefinable. It is just itself, and must be experi- 
enced. But, also like other things, it is the emergent quality illus- 
trated in the essence of a conjunction of circumstances. Consciousness 
belongs to that class of forms admitted or not admitted by the 
subject of an actual entity for the purpose of absorbing the objective 
data presented for a novel synthesis, into the subjectivity of satis- 
faction. Consciousness is that quality which emerges as the result of 
the conjunction of a fact and a supposition about that fact. It is 
the quality inherent in the contrast between the physical pole and 
the mental pole the contrast between Actuality and Ideality. When 
such a contrast is a feeble factor in experience, then consciousness is 
present merely in germ, as a latent capacity. In proportion as the 
1 P. <& #., p. 226. ibid., p. 197. 

74 



WHITEHEAD'S PHILOSOPHY: Propositions and Consciousness 

contrast is well-defined and prominent, the occasion includes a 
developed consciousness. The portion of experience irradiated by 
consciousness is only a selection. That is to say consciousness is 
really a certain mode of attention: it provides the extreme of 
selective emphasis. Concerning the relation of the spontaneity of 
an occasion to consciousness and art, Whitehead says 'The 
spontaneity of an occasion finds its chief outlets, first in the 
direction of consciousness, and secondly in production of ideas to 
pass into the area of conscious attention. Thus consciousness, spon- 
taneity, and art are closely interconnected. But that art which arises 
within clear consciousness is only a specialization of the more widely 
distributed art within dim consciousness or within the unconscious 
activities of experience." 1 

This passage asserts that ultimately consciousness is to be 
regarded as the product of art in its lowliest form, since it results 
from the ingression of ideality into reality. The mingling of ideality 
with reality assumes the form of a contrast, with the purpose of 
reshaping reality into a finite select appearance. All later develop- 
ments of human art are thus outgrowths of that profound function 
in nature which in the first place produced consciousness itself. 

The ''importance" of consciousness is not a necessary element 
in the concrete actual entity. If we are reflecting on the route of 
successive actual occasions constituting the life history of an enduring 
thing or person, "some of the earlier actual occasions may be without 
knowledge, and some may possess knowledge. In such a case the 
unknowing man has become knowing. There is nothing surprising 
in this conclusion; it happens daily for most of us when we sleep at 
night and wake in the morning." 2 Thus although every actual occasion 
may be said to have the capacity for knowledge, generally speaking 
knowledge seems to be negligible, except in regard to some actual 
occasions enjoying a peculiar and rich complexity of constitution. 

This completes the account of Whitehead 's theory of propositions 
and consciousness, and clears the ground for an understanding of the 
higher phases of experience. An exposition of these higher forms of 
experience will be given in a final article. 

1 Adventures of Ideas, p. 347. * Process and Reality, p. 224. 



75 



NEW BOOKS 

Men and Moral Principles. By L. SUSAN STEBBING. L. T. Hobhouse Memorial 
Trust Lecture No. 13. (Oxford University Press. 1944. Pp. 27. Price 2s.) 

It is fitting that Professor Stebbing's last published work in philosophy 
should be an essay in the methodology of ethics. She wrote less on ethics 
than on some other philosophical subjects but all who knew her well knew 
of her great concern with moral problems and their relation to political 
affairs. Though without illusions about the general irrationality of human 
behaviour, she believed strongly that philosophers whose business it is to 
think clearly should try to clarify moral issues both for themselves and for 
others and should, above all, resist the temptation to act blindly, to be 
swayed by irrational prejudice or ill-judged enthusiasm. She was ever an 
example in this respect, though reflection never dried in her the springs 
of impulsively generous action and sympathy which were freely moved both 
by the suffering and happiness of human beings. The tribute she pays to 
Hobhouse in this Lecture could, equally justly, be paid to her, that she was 
a philosopher whose philosophy informed her life. 

Professor Stebbing's chief object in this pamphlet is to emphasize the 
fundamental logical difference between ethics and the natural sciences, whose 
investigators proceed by the method of abstracting isolable elements from 
concrete situations and formulating the laws of their recurrence in similar 
situations. The more completely such elements can be isolated, the more 
exactly can their laws be expressed. And no scientific study can be made 
of situations where no elements can be so isolated. In spite of some appearance 
to the contrary in the existence of moral "rules," no ethical situation, Miss 
Stebbing thinks, can provide such "isolates." Ethics, therefore, is not, and 
cannot be, a science. She observes, in passing, that this is also true of politics 
though she does not develop her thesis for this subject. 

Ethical situations, expressed in judgments about good and evil, are complex 
and contain elements of different logical types. It is impossible to obtain 
from them generalizations to the effect that in any future situation containing 
similar elements my present judgment of good or evil would be valid or my 
present action ethically justified. I admit the general rule that "Men ought 
to speak the truth" and that on this occasion it is my duty to speak truly, 
but I cannot predict that on every future occasion, when asked for information, 
it would be my duty to give it, and not to prevaricate. What I, rightly, decide 
to be my duty will depend not only on the acknowledgment of an abstract 
moral rule, but also, and more importantly, on the particular combination 
of circumstances in which it is to be applied. These circumstances cannot 
be enumerated. We cannot, without talking nonsense, elaborate a moral rule 
more accurately as, "Speak the truth, provided that you do not betray your 
friends, give dangerous information to a madman, destroy another's peace 
of mind unnecessarily, etc., etc." The rule evaporates in such refinement. 
"Truth-speaking" is not, therefore, an "isolate" for which laws of when it 
ought or ought not to occur can be formulated. 

What, then, are moral judgments about and how can ethics be studied? 
Obviously, what we judge are not single actions, but groups of actions or 
possible actions. I do not speak the truth because I promised not to betray 



NEW BOOKS 

the partisan ambush and if I do my comrades will be killed. And communists 
(or gentlemen, or Christians) don't behave like that. What I do relates to a 
whole pattern or mode of acting inspired by an ideal and guided by principles 
of action, of habit-formation, of education, directed to producing a human 
being having a certain kind of personality, and exhibiting a particular set 
of characteristics, approved by the group. In judging ethical situations, 
therefore, Miss Stebbing says, "What we have to take account of is a whole 
mode of acting; ethical principles have significance only in so far as they 
are closely related to a certain set of actions which proceed from a spirit 
that inspires a particular way of life" (p. 18), and "Each ideal" (held by 
groups of men) "if it were put into practice, would promote, or at least tend 
to* promote, the development of a certain type of man and would be inimical 
to the development of some other types" (p. 25). A very important part of 
the business of moral philosophers, therefore, is to clarify the ideals and 
principles upon which modes of acting are based, to compare the ideals of 
different groups and societies and to recommend to their own societies the 
principles of a way of life adapted to human nature as it is and life as it is 
daily lived by the majority of people, but capable also of inspiring the 
development of a human being having as many as possible of the good 
characteristics which a human being is capable of possessing (pp. 4 and 25). 

Moralists and reformers must be always on their guard against fanaticism 
and the sort of innocence which preaches cloudy ideals and impossibly per- 
fectionist principles formulated without reference to the persons which they 
are intended to direct or the conditions in which they must be practised. 
It is not only philosophers who fall in love with dreams and abstractions, 
and fail to appreciate that ideals which are to be realized on earth must 
be adapted to earthly conditions and that moral choice is often a choice 
between evils as well as between good and evil. Such are some Christian 
Pacifists who justify abstention on the grounds that no war need have 
occurred if all the combatants had been sincere Christians. In the state of 
world opinion in 1939, to appeal to a condition so impossible of fulfilment 
is meaningless and cannot assist the choice now between the two evils of war 
and the almost certain predominance in a few years of the Fascist ideal and 
way of life. Miss Stebbing gives as an example of a practical ideal that of the 
"good doctor" of the Hippocrates Oath. The medical code does not demand 
impossible saintliness from ordinary people, but its social results are, in 
general, good. A reasonable degree of professional efficiency is ensured and 
mutual trust achieved within a limited set of personal relationships. This sort 
of result should be our aim when choosing the principles and ideals by which 
to organize our wider social relationships. Moral principles must come down 
to men and their daily living conditions. Philosophers must help to guide 
this process. 

This programme seems to require philosophers to be the sages and prophets 
of their societies; a role which many would reject. They might admit that 
part of a philosopher's business is to clarify accepted moral principles, expose 
their assumptions and show their implications. They might prefer to describe 
this as the analysis of moral judgments or the elucidation of ethical language. 
And they would agree heartily with Miss Stebbing that the wrong sort of 
rationality about ethical questions should be discouraged by showing how 
ethical statements are related to particular ethical situations in a way which 
makes an ethical rule so unlike a scientific law that to emphasize an analogy 
between them is unprofitable. But, for Miss Stebbing, these are at best the 
preliminaries to positive ethical philosophy and, at worst, mere trivial word 
juggling. Unfortunately, Miss Stebbing leaves unexplained the principle upon 

77 



PHILOSOPHY 

which the choice between different ideals is to be determined. She gives a 
hint on page 25 when she suggests that our choice should be guided by "the 
sort of person we believe a human being is capable of becoming." This, 
however, is too vague to be very useful. An analogy with medical and other 
professional codes, too, is misleading. We know, and could describe fairly 
adequately, what constitutes being a good doctor, a good lawyer, a good 
carpenter, even a good trade unionist or a good employer. But can we, in 
an analogous sense, describe what it is to be a good human being? Moreover, 
what men are capable of becoming seems to be a scientific question. The 
philosopher has no qualifications for answering it. Biologists, physiologists, 
psychologists, historians and sociologists may be able to predict how man 
can develop. But he may develop bad characteristics as easily as good. Which 
characteristics do we want to develop, and why? Is there an ideal human 
personality which all should develop ? Miss Stebbing seems to deny this in her 
final sentence where she states that "There is no good reason to suppose that 
one way of life, one clearly stated ideal, is appropriate to all stages of human 
development and to all sorts and conditions of societies/' Yet I think she 
still clings, obscurely, to a final standard or absolute ideal by which the 
standards of different groups and societies should be judged. Yet such a 
standard of which no description can be given seems to introduce a purely 
metaphysical notion which in her concrete and practical mood she would 
emphatically reject. But if it is rejected (as I agree it should be), more must 
be said to allay the criticism that Miss Stebbing accepts an ethical equality 
which is contradicted by ordinary moral experience. We do not believe that 
it is merely preference for our own customs which makes us condemn as 
immoral the beliefs and practices of some societies. Her own condemnation 
of Fascism, for example, shows that Miss Stebbing would admit this fact. 
Unhappily, we shall never know how she would have resolved this puzzle. 

M. MACDONALD. 



Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies. Edited by R. HUNT and R. KLIBANSKY. 
Vol I, No. 2, Warburg Institute, London, 1942. 

L. MINIO.-PALLUELLO : The Genuine Text of Boethius' Translation of 
Aristotle's Categories. [Boethius is not the author of the version usually 
printed as his (V). His version is preserved by the two MSS; V is a fresh 
rendering made probably in the first half of the tenth century. This is 
important, since the genuine text of Boethius' version enables us to recon- 
struct the Greek of Aristotle as it stood in the sixth century.] R. KLIBANSKY : 
The Rock of Parmenides. [A study of the way in which the misunderstanding 
of a phrase in Martianus Capella gave rise to the mediaeval legend of Par- 
menides as inventing metaphysics on a rock in Egypt.] L. LABOWSKY: 
A New Version of Scotus Eriugena's Commentary on Martianus Capella. [Notes 
on a MS. of this work in the Bodleian.] R. W. HUNT: Studies in Priscian. 
[Treats with texts of the mediaeval conception of the relations of grammar 
and logic.] C. C. J. WEBB: loanais Sariesberiensis Metalogicon: Addenda et 
Corrigenda. [Additional notes to the author's edition of the Metalogicon.] 
H. KANTOROWICZ: and B. SM ALLEY: An English Theologian's View of Roman 
Law:Pepo, Irnerius, Ralph Niger. [The question discussed is who vf&sPepo? Evi- 
dence of an unpublished MS. of the Moralia Regium of the chronicler Ralph 
Niger shows that he really was a precursor of Irnerius at Bologna. Text given 
from a MS. at New College, Oxford.] E. H. KANTOROWICZ: An "Auto- 
biography" of Guido Faba. [An entertaining study of the statements of this 
curious Bolognese figure about himself.] R. KLIBANSKY: Plato's Parmenides 

.78 



NEW BOOKS 

in (he Middle Ages and the Renaissance. [The first Latin version of the work, 
anterior to that of Ficinus, was the one made, but never printed, by George 
of Trapezunt for Nicolaus of Cusa, which we can date approximately in the 
year 1451-2. Previously the dialogue had been only known in part from the 
version of the Commentary of Proclus, made in the thirteenth century by 
William of Moerbeke. Nicolaus thus knew the whole dialogue, but his inter- 
pretation of it had been already determined by his reading of Proclus, only 
he now came to combine the "theological" interpretation with a recognition 
that the method of the dialogue is dialectical. The theological interpretation 
itself was disputed by Politian and Pico della Mirandola.] 

A. E. TAYLOR. 



Psycho- Analysis and Crime. BY MAJOR S. H. FOULKES, M.D. Canadian Bar 
Association. 

This admirable little pamphlet is written for lay-men. It is introduced by 
Professor Burt, who explains the general nature of psycho-analytic theory, 
and its place in the corpus of psychological studies. Nothing could be clearer. 

Major Foulkes then takes up the tale, and gives a further elaboration of 
Freudian theory, after which he proceeds to apply the Freudian: doctrine to 
the problems of delinquency. The usual points are made: unconscious motives 
may lie at the root of the delinquent behaviour itself, unconscious resentment 
may be responsible for the anti-social nature of the act, and unconscious 
guilt, seeking the assuagement of overt punishment, may lead the delinquent 
to act in such a way as to provoke social retaliation. Furthermore society 
itself plays a part; we are all of us busily keeping the rules and restraining 
our baser natures, and so we are in a sense vicariously implicated when we 
contemplate those who allow their own baser natures more licence than we 
allow ours. The result is that we ourselves, as a group precipitating a certain 
social context, also develop a kind of socially sanctified "super ego" disguised 
in wig and gown, on whose relentlessness (or tolerance) we keep a watchful eye. 
If only, therefore, we could remove the unconscious motives which are 
responsible for crimes, and get more knowledge of ourselves, the tide of 
delinquency would ebb and social harmony would be less precarious. 

All this is, of course, familiar to students of psycho-analysis as applied to 
the field of delinquency, and all well-informed persons rightly clamour for 
observation centres, psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatment of suitable 
cases, and, in general, for a better understanding of the psychological and 
sociological causes of crime. There is, however, an iniluential world in which 
these matters are unknown, and it is to be hoped that this pamphlet will 
reach it. It ought to be read by all magistrates, judges, probation officers 
and anyone else responsible for the fate of those whom the law has delivered 
into their hands. 

For the "initiated," however, Major Foulkes raises extremely interesting 
questions. Let us grant that psycho-analysis can work wonders with delin- 
quents for whose actions unconscious motives play a preponderating role, let 
us include the child, whose social adjustment is in the process of development 
and therefore may well go reparably wrong, and let us also throw in the 
"young person" who has such a difficult passage in our culture from childhood 
to adulthood that resentment and guilt may almost be considered the order 
of the day. Let us hand them all over to the psycho-analyst and let us not 
be put off by the pessimism of the East-Hubert report. What have we left ? 
Perhaps we have the a-moral psychopathic personality, who seems incapable 
of social training altogether. If we leave him on one side as a curiosity, is 

79 



PHILOSOPHY 

there anyone left? Is there a place for the "normal" criminal, in whose de- 
linquency unconscious motivation plays really very little part? Surely no 
one who knows any criminals at all could deny such a category. 

The "normal" criminal is by far the most interesting specimen because he 
raises the extremely puzzling question: why are we all not more criminal 
than we are ? It looks at first sight as though it were not so much that he had 
something inside him, which we have not, and which must "out" in criminal 
behaviour, as that we have acquired a stable integration on a socially ac- 
ceptable level which he has not. Psycho-analysis may be able to remove 
unconscious motives, but what can implant that stable integrative system 
which seems to rule out untoward behaviour without difficulty it is just 
"unthinkable" and enables us to endure any amount of frustration without 
turning a hair? It seems a little unfair to lump all these formidable issues 
on top of Major Foulkes's little pamphlet, and it is not done in a spirit 
of criticism. The point is this: granted that our knowledge of mental abnor- 
mality may well help us to "cure" many of our delinquents, we shall have 
to go a long way towards repairing our gross ignorance of normal functioning 
before we can do much for the rest. W. J. H. SPROTT. 



Philosophical Essays in Honor of Edgar Arthur Singer, Jr. Edited by F. P. 
CLARKE and M. C. NAHM. (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania 
Press; London: H. Milford. 1942. Pp. x + 377. English price 2is. 6d. 
net.) 

When a man has a wide variety of interests, they tend to acquire a certain 
unity through their meeting in his person, and there is fascination in such 
a biological fact even if there is something of a strain in attending with equal 
courtesy to so mixed a company. If, however, as in Singer's case, this variety 
of interests, historical, logical, aesthetic, biological and psychological, stimu- 
lates his pupils and friends, not to combine these interests, but severally to 
pursue only one or two of them, there is too much dispersion for a collection 
oi their views (as in the present volume) to be very effective. In a very general 
way it may be said that Singer's method in philosophy, i.e. his attempt to 
show that logic was flexible enough to deal with most traditional antitheses, 
however petrified they may seem, requires to be developed in detail, which 
is just what most of these essays attempt to do. All the same, it is hard on the 
reader to have to adjust his mind to histone and sterols in one essay, n-voiced 
polyphony in another, Aristotle's Postpraedicamenta in a third, the difference 
between the calculus of propositions and the calculus of substantives in a 
fourth, and so on. 

The book has four parts. 

The first Part begins with an essay on the criteria and limits of "meaning" 
by A. O. Lovejoy, in which that redoubtable critic, on this occasion without 
very minute subdivision, has many important things to say about what 
Carnap thought in 1928. Next there is an essay (reprinted) by the late H. B. 
Smith on "Postulates of Empirical Thought," rather looser in expression 
than one would have expected from so careful a logician. Next H, Jaffe gives 
a fluent and rather thin account of the development of the experimental 
method from Aristarchus to Kant. He is followed by C. W. Churchman, 
"Towards a General Logic of Propositions," who rightly disdains to be other 
than severely technical. Then we have two papers on biology by Eliz. F. 
Flower and Miriam I. Pennypacker, the first writer being confident that the 
definition of life and the embittered struggle between mechanists and yitalists 

80 



NEW BOOKS 

in biology can be settled by an adequate logic, the second writer being not 
quite so confident. Lastly, in this Part there are three psychological essays 
(largely experimental) on "The Principle of Associative Learning" (E. R. 
Guthrie), "The Concept of Volition in Experimental Psychology" (F. W. 
Irwin), and "The Experience Theory of the Social Attitude" (M. G. Preston). 
The last of these make an interesting attempt to show that actual experiences 
are the occasions rather than the "necessary and sufficient conditions" for 
psychological explanations. Mr. Irwin 's essay seems to me to be a very clear 
and a very useful piece of work. 

Part II (ethical) begins with an essay on the "Definition of Criminal Mind," 
and tries to tell all Anglo-American lawyers that they should abandon any 
atjtempt to be^ other than pure behaviourists in the matter of wens rea in 
criminal law. There are then two essays by gentlemen of the cloth, one about 
ethics and science (W. S. Sheriff), the other about religion as the officiating 
clergyman in the wedding of art, science, and other patterns of culture 
(J. K. Shryock). 

Part III deals with Aesthetics. In it Nahm's contribution lie is one of the 
editors "Ateleological Theories of Aesthetic" is a delightful study of the 
limits of formalism in aesthetics with special reference to the Polycleitean 
canon, Virtruvius, Hambidge, Leonardo, and Durer. M. G. Rigg's paper on 
"The Expression of Meanings and Emotions in Music" contains interesting 
psychological evidence about the extent to which tempo, staccato notes, etc., 
are usually felt to be congruent with particular emotions. J. S. Adams also 
writes on Music, and L. W. Flaccus on general aesthetics. 

Part IV is historical. It begins with a paper addressed to expert Grecians, 
on Phantasia in Plotinus (G. H. Clark). Next F. P. Clarke, the other editor, 
compares Kant and Aquinas on the proofs of God's existence, but too briefly 
to be either as useful or as interesting as such a discussion might have been . 
The next paper is addressed to learned Aristotelians (it is reprinted). It is 
the late I. Husik's final attempt to substantiate his view that the work On 
the Categories is wholly Aristotle's. Then J. H. Randall, Jr., writes usefully 
upon the fundamental dualism in Newton's conception of method and proof 
in natural philosophy, and W. D. Wallis gives a short and rather labile account 
of Hume's contributions to social science. 

Lastly, there is a bibliography of Singer's writings, including reviews. 

JOHN LAIRD. 

Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Translated with Notes by T. M. KNOX. Oxford, 
At the Clarendon Press. 1942. Pp. xvi -f- 382. 2is. net. 

Hegel's Philosophy of Right reveals as in a magnifying glass a specific 
attitude of modern man which must be overcome if we want to arrive at 
a real order of human affairs. Let us call it deificatio homims. Broadly 
speaking, what really happens in this book is that Hegel deifies nation and 
state. This deification proceeds, positively, by transforming the principles 
of the modern mind, like the Cogito, autonomy and self-determination, into 
absolute principles, and negatively, by sacrificing to these self -created idols 
not only the legitimate human understanding, which is derided as merely 
finite, but also his legitimate ethic, which is scorned as mere empty and 
formal "Ought," as mere Morahtaet which has to be absorbed by the concrete 
life of the state which parades under the high sounding name of Sittlichkeit. 
This book is one of the greatest tragedies ever written in purely philosophical 
language, for it is the tragedy of modern man, our tragedy of which, let us 
hope, the last act is being performed just now. 

F 8l 



PHILOSOPHY 

I shall have to concentrate on this, the most important aspect of this book. 
It should, however, be added that it seems almost impossible to study Hegel 
to-day without taking notice of the powerful protests against his philosophy, 
raised by Feuerbach (in the name of the empirical real Self), by Stahl (on 
behalf of Christian personality), by Kierkegaard (who affirmed the "existence" 
of the sinful soul), by Marx (who advocated the cause of the proletariat and 
the influence of the material spheres of human society), and, last but not least, 
by Ranke who in face of his most comprehensive knowledge of history denied 
that the historian possessed the knowledge of the "Concrete-Universal" which 
Hegel claimed and who added that, if he had it, he would partake in "Divine 
Science." 

Hegel sacrifices ethics to the state. Whereas they should be independent 
of the state and the state an object of moral judgment, here they are subor- 
dinate to the state which becomes the subject of morality. Hegel has in fact 
no ethics. Even the term "ethics" disappears; it is once used as Natur- 
beschreibung of the virtues, and besides that only in historical references to 
Socrates, Aristotle, Descartes and Spinoza. But, what is worse, he rejects 
ethics, in so far as they are based on the notion of "ought" and of duty. 
This rejection as such is unmistakable and central, repeated over and over 
again, here, e.g. 135, in the Logic, Phenomenology and Encyclopedia. In 
other words, Hegel is not content with either a finite understanding, or a 
finite will he claims in his megalomania an infinite will. Against this rejection 
of ethics a most emphatic protest must be made. Titles like The Ethics of Hegel 
and Hegel's Ethical Theory should not mislead us. Hegelianism is an essen- 
tially ambiguous philosophy and Hegel's critique is ambiguous too; he accepts 
every standpoint as a stage in his dialectical movement. Every one of them 
is aufgehoben, i.e. "done away with" and "preserved." Hegel, moreover, knew 
exactly the meaning of ethics. His Philosophische Propaedeutik , written in 
Niirnberg (1809-11), contains even a comprehensive theory of duties and 
acknowledges the good as Sollen, which has to be realized but which may 
be distorted by reality. In this book the state is still subordinate to ethical 
ideas and has not yet incorporated in itself the whole ethical life. 

There is no room here to describe the complicated process by which the 
substitution of the Rechtsphilosophie for ethics is achieved, or the correspond- 
ing replacement of Kant's practical reason by the "real mind" (1805), the 
"practical mind" (Nurnberg) and the "objective mind" (since Heidelberg). 
But it must be noted that the fragment, published by Lasson under the title 
System der Sittlichkeit bears in the manuscript the title Rechtsphilosophie von 
1800, and that it contains the germ of the later Rechtsphilosophie. Here 
already ethics, as the theory of the moral law, are replaced by Sittlichkeit, 
as the theory of moral being; in other words, the idea that man is good if 
his action is in conformity with the moral law, is superseded by the idea that 
he is good if his will is identical with the absolute will, or if it is not he 
himself who acts, but the absolute mind in him. The basis of this trans- 
formation is the acceptance of Spinoza's and Schelling's pantheism, "that 
all things are in God," and of their absolute identity. Hegel adds the idea 
of the Concrete-Universal, expressed in this form, "that every particularity 
of action, thought or being has its essence or meaning merely in the whole:" 
he finds the first realization of this Concrete-Universal in the nation (Volk) 
which he deifies and its second realization in the government for which he 
claims the true moral life in God. Through this identification with the absolute 
mind the individual is supposed to gain eternal being. 

The Rechtsphilosophie adds the deification of the state. "The state in and 
by itself is the ethical whole, the actualization of freedom. ... It is the march 

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NEW BOOKS 

of God in the world, that the state is. ... We must consider the Idea, this 
actual God, by itself" (258). There cannot be any doubt about the fact that 
the sphere of ethics is subordinated to that of the state, that this subordination 
dethrones ethics and transforms them into metaphysics, and what is worse, that 
it leads in fact to an amoral attitude, i.e. to a prevalence of amoral values over 
moral values. For in the last instance, power is recognized as the decisive 
factor in the inter-relations of states and in history. 

Hegel, indeed, following Frederick and Fichte, taught the Germans the 
power lesson and accepted Macchiavellism as one of the elements of his theory 
of the state. The German reality, the Klein-Staaterei and the powerlessness 
of the German states, or the discovery that Germany is no longer a state just 
becciuse she lacks power, led Hegel in 1802 to the acknowledgement of power 
as an essential element of the state: "The unity of State Power for the sake 
of defence is the essential quality of the State." He accepted Macchiavelli's 
theory, he praised Frederick as the regent in whom the interest of the state 
received its highest and universal justification. National might is accepted 
as moral right and war as a national ideal. This idea is triumphant. For 
the absolute sovereign nation state, which has assumedly absorbed morality, 
does in the end not recognize any other judge except world history: Die 
Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht. This means in plain language, that the task 
of ordering the totality of the human community has utterly failed, that 
Hegel's hybrid notion of "right" is unsuitable as a basis for a law of nations, 
that in the most decisive sphere the law of the jungle and brute force are to 
prevail, or that might triumphs over right. (Hegel's Theory of Might has 
found its interpreters in H. Heller and F. Meinecke.) 

More important than a critique of Hegel is the lesson which we may learn 
from him. This lesson seems to be the following, Nostra res agitur. Hegel's 
theory of the state represents a dialectical synthesis of the preceding theories 
of the state, and especially of the modern theories. This synthesis reaches 
a ground common to the conflicting systems. Hegel accepts the principles 
on which the modern theories of the state are based, notably the ideas of the 
individual, of the nation, of the nation state, of autonomy, of self-deter- 
mination and of sovereignty. He renders a great service in pursuing these 
notions to their utmost limit. He arrives, consequently, at the notions of an 
"absolute or unconditioned self-determination of the will" and of "infinite 
autonomy" (135), of "the will which is infinite not merely in itself, but for 
itself," and of the nation state (or better of the Volk as state) "as the mind 
in its substantive rationality and immediate actuality" and as "the absolute 
power on earth" (331), which is consequently sovereign and autonomous. 
This sovereignty is based on "an ungrounded (or irrational) self-determination 
of the will in which finality of decision is rooted" (279). Hegel thinks (most 
powerfully and with utmost consequence) what the others do. In doing so 
he exposes the inherent weakness of the whole modern system of politics based 
on the notions of absolute individuality, of autonomy, of self-determination, 
of absolute sovereignty, and of the nation state. Hegel proves that the accep- 
tance of these principles implies the proposition that might is right and that 
perpetual war must reign between these states. It is of no use to reject Hegel 
and to preserve the same principles. We are faced with this dilemma: either 
we preserve these principles of modern politics or we reject them. In the first 
case we choose the right of the stronger and incessant war. In the second 
case we choose a new system the principles of which cannot be developed 
within the scope of this review. 

The great importance of this translation seems to me to be that it puts 
before the reader these problems in the form which they received in Hegel's 

83 



PHILOSOPHY 

treatment. Professor Knox is certainly right in separating the text of the 
manual from the additions which are lecture notes. Both form indeed two 
different books, and the attentive reader will notice two different styles, the 
condensed style of the written word and the freer style of the spoken word. 
Hegel's lecturing was more thinking aloud and meditating than a speech 
addressed to others. Lasson's useful headings of the additions are unfor- 
tunately omitted. It would be most ungenerous not to acknowledge the enor- 
mous amount of work which has gone into the making of a most readable 
book. But the reader must realize that Hegel is almost untranslatable because 
of the essential ambiguity of many of his terms and because of his most 
arbitrary coinage of new expressions outside common usage. Under these 
conditions every translation must become an interpretation. Reference* to 
the original at important points may not be out of place. This comparison 
will show that the translation is very felicitous in most places whereas at 
others room for doubt is possible; e.g. Lcitfaden is "manual/' not "guiding 
thread" (the logic was originally a Leitfadcn too). Tn 331 "an identity 
between the state and its neighbour" seems to give a false reference to the 
word beider, which, I suppose, refers to "an identity of the formal and material 
element." The end of 13 "will is thinking reason resolving itself to finitucle" 
would perhaps improve by substituting "limitation" or "determination" for 
"finitude," for the point in question is the limitation or determination of 
something infinite or indefinite. The reader will experience the great value 
of the translation if he tries to read the original and compares his own inter- 
pretation, at every step, with that of the translation. F. H. HEINEMANN. 



Formalisation of Logic. By RUDOLF CARNAP. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard 
University Press. 1943. Pp. xv -f- 159. Price i6s. 6d. net.) 

This is a book which is likely to prove of great value in the development 
of Logic. Though the conclusions are in themselves highly significant and 
interesting, an important practical effect will be to establish confidence, from 
the scientific standpoint, in the methods and point of view developed in the 
foregoing volume, Introduction to Semantics. Formalisation of Logic is simply 
the application of these methods to a special problem. 

The point of view adopted in the former volume is that Logic is part of 
the science of language, and the methods developed are the semantical 
and syntactical methods. In Semantics sentences are regarded as having 
reference to possible states of affairs, and there are accordingly rules of 
designation and rules of truth determining their outward reference. These 
rules are found to involve concepts of a logical character. Syntax on the 
other hand abstracts from all outward reference, treating sentences purely 
from the point of view of their relatedness to one another according to certain 
rules. Some of these rules too are found to possess a logical character, but 
since Logic is usually taken to involve truth relations and thereby outward 
reference, we do better to speak here of t a calculus. The various forms of 
prepositional calculus are examples. Now if all the sentences of a calculus 
contained in a syntactical system occur also in a semantical system, we may 
justly refer to the latter as an interpretation of the calculus, and under certain 
conditions a true interpretation. Thus although in the first place we may 
arrive at the conception of a calculus by abstraction from a semantical system, 
once having arrived at such an abstraction we begin to see how to construct 
a calculus by rules independent of semantical concepts, and it becomes 
apparent that one calculus may be capable of various possible interpretations. 



NEW BOOKS 

This gives the setting to the problem of the formalisation of Logic, which 
is the problem of finding a suitable calculus for Logic. The question naturally 
arises whether the calculus in general use, viz. some form of the prepositional 
calculus (conveniently referred to as "PC"), is open to any true interpre- 
tations besides the normal one which it is assumed to have. If there are 
other, non-normal, interpretations, the conclusion is that PC is not a full 
formalisation of Logic, i.e. that there arc essential features in Logic which 
are not represented by PC. Prof. Carnap finds that such non-normal inter- 
pretations are possible, and his task thereafter is to supplement PC by 
additional conceptions and rules in order to render it an adequate calculus 
for Logic as usually understood. 

The semantical aspect of Logic is evident according as the dependence 
of Logic upon semantical notions such as truth is evident. This dependence 
occurs most plainly in the truth-functional method of dealing with the logical 
constants, and the normal truth tables (NTT) are accordingly taken as the 
basis of prepositional logic as distinct from the prepositional calculus. 
Chapters A and B deal respectively with PC and NTT, for the purpose of 
putting them in the compact form required for their comparison in the 
subsequent chapters, the purpose of the comparison being to determine 
whether it is possible to interpret PC in a non-normal manner, i.e. in such 
a way as to conflict with the rules presupposed by NTT. 

The philosophy of Logical Positivism is not in evidence in Forwalisation 
of Logic. The problem itself, however, is one which at least in appearance has 
an important bearing upon the logical positivist thesis, for if any essential 
features of Logic defy formalisation one could plausibly maintain that the)' 
admit of a metaphysical explanation; since on the one hand, being essential 
features of Logic, they would not owe their origin to empirical fact, while on 
the other, being unformalised, their dependence upon the nature of language 
could not be demonstrated. Therefore the successful elimination of such 
features by Professor Carnap's method appears to be a triumph for Logical 
Positivism. However, the question really involved here is whether formaliza- 
tion itself does effectively reduce the essential logical concepts to dependence 
upon language. The preceding volume appears to aim, among other things, 
at demonstrating such dependence. But the more natural interpretation 
of the successful handling of Logic in terms of linguistic concepts such 
as "sentence" is that language proves to be a suitable empirical medium by 
which to verify theories of Logic, just as the field of physical observation 
is a suitable empirical medium for verifying theories about matter. Now there 
is no apparent inconsistency in thinking of the Laws of Nature as themselves 
transcending the medium of observation by which they are known, in fact 
this is the normal manner of conceiving them, Phenomenalism being neither 
a common nor a necessary form of explanation. Similarly, in spite of for- 
malization in terms of linguistic concepts, it would still be natural and not 
evidently inconsistent to think of the Laws of Thought as themselves trans- 
cending language. 

Thus the book displays little direct interest in this question. However, some 
very illuminating remarks are made on the Laws of Contradiction and 
Excluded Middle in 19 (Chapter D). Here it is shown that the formalization 
of two semantical concepts (L-exclusive and L-disjunct) would lead to syn- 
tactical concepts (C-exclusive and C-disjunct) not in fact contained in PC. 
These two semantical concepts occur respectively in the two Laws, but 
although there are corresponding syntactical truths which look the same as 
these Laws, and although they can be interpreted to make both Laws true, 
this interpretation is not necessary. Non-normal interpretations are also 

85 



PHILOSOPHY 

possible. This fact in regard to the supposed equivalents of the Laws of 
Thought has a highly paradoxical appearance, and its revelation is a tribute 
to Professor Carnap's investigation, though I believe the same result could 
be arrived at by a simpler path. We usually think that having formalized 
implication, we can reach the concept of exclusion by combining implication 
with negation. This, however, is not sufficient, because negation in the pro- 
positional calculus has not the fully determinate value that it has in ordinary 
logical discourse. The impossibility of thus deriving exclusion from implication 
could, I believe, be employed to disprove the favourite theme of the unity 
of affirmation and negation. In any case, the only road to complete for- 
malization is by the introduction of new concepts. 

Among these, the so-called "junctives" are of special interest. A junctive 
is a class of sentence which allows of two specifications, a disjunctive and 
a conjunctive, according as the sentences are considered in disjunction or in 
conjunction. This provides a basis for semantics and syntax which is sym- 
metrical with regard to disjunction and conjunction, thereby leading to an 
analogous symmetrical treatment of truth and falsity. The one-sidedness in 
which classes of sentences were always assumed to be in conjunction, and in 
which truth but not falsity was represented, is eliminated. 

Thus it seems necessary to introduce a calculus stronger than PC, and 
fully expressive of existing logic. But this is not sufficient ground for the 
abandonment of PC as a calculus, any more than the development of relativity 
physics was an argument for the abandonment of Euclidean geometry. The 
problem of the formalization of Logic presupposes Logic as given unalterably, 
and that a calculus is to be judged only from the standpoint of its formaliza- 
tion or failure to formalize Logic. The converse problem is that of the pos- 
sibilities in the interpretation of a given calculus. Although Professor Carnap 
deals with three ways of interpreting PC, he gives no hint of the possibility 
of a complete reversal of attitude, and one is left with the impression that 
calculi are but the handmaids of Logic. This implied outlook is in conformity 
with the fact that the theory of truth-functions is basic for Logical Positivism. 

The final chapter shows how solutions to the problem of full formalization 
may be found for functional logic. Here the concepts of universal and exis- 
tential operators occur in addition to the essential concepts of proposition al 
logic. For the most part, the methods of solution are an extension of the 
methods adopted for prepositional logic. E. TOMS. 



World Hypotheses: a Study in Evidence. By STEPHEN C. PEPPER. (University 

of California Press. 1942. Pp. xiii -f- 348. Price not stated.) 
"World hypotheses'* are systems of metaphysics, and it should be explained 
at once, for the benefit of the squeamish, that this is a book which takes 
metaphysics seriously. Its main subject, indeed, is a comparative study of 
the theories of the traditional metaphysical schools. It is only fair to point 
out, however, that the author approaches his subject in a most undogmatic 
manner and, while making a good case for the possibility of significant 
world hypotheses, remains to the last open to the view that they may be 
eventually replaced by a quite different type of knowledge. His careful dis- 
cussion of evidence and corroboration should interest even those whom it 
fails to convince; and the whole book, closely reasoned and lucid as it is, 
could be read with profit by supporters and opponents of the traditional 
metaphysics alike. Both would find it stimulating and perhaps disturbing too. 

86 



NEW BOOKS 

The work falls into two main parts, the first concerned with epistemological 
and methodological questions of a general nature, the second offering a sketch 
of the four world hypotheses which the author considers "relatively adequate," 
and giving concrete illustration of the conclusions of the first half of the 
book. Although this sketch is very well done and is indispensable to the 
understanding of the author's point of view, it is in the first section that 
interest will mainly centre. Professor Pepper begins by combating both 
absolute scepticism and complete dogmatism about knowledge generally. 
The former is demolished by the usual arguments; under the latter head the 
author attacks, besides such an obvious Aunt Sally as infallible authority, 

(1) the belief in self-evident principles (including the principles of logic), and 

(2) the belief in indubitable facts. His attitude to both is reminiscent of that 
of supporters of the coherence theory : he refuses to admit that logical or any 
other principles are valid save so far as they cohere with the rest of our know- 
ledge, and he denies (in coherence language) that there can be perception 
without judgment. The second point he illustrates by showing that what is 
indubitable fact for one philosopher (in this case sense-data as defined by 
Professor Price) is interpreted quite differently by another (in this case, 
Dewey) ; and he suggests, without pressing it at this stage, that the reason 
is to be found in differences in the fundamental categories accepted 
by different thinkers. These matters are all dealt with rather too briefly 
to be satisfactory (the question of logical rules and other prescriptive 
principles in particular is treated far too shortly, with the same weaknesses 
as are displayed in the coherence theory); but the result arrived at is, for 
Professor Pepper, of great importance. It is that knowledge does not "begin 
with certain ties "but may "dawn like day out of a half-light of semi-knowledge 
and gradually grow to clarity and illumination" (p. 39). Any piece of evi- 
dence, to gain critical acceptance, must hence be corroborated. Now there are, 
the author argues, two main types of corroboration, multiplicative and 
structural. Multiplicative corroboration is achieved when a number of 
witnesses agree in affirming the same fact; its refinement is found in the sphere 
of physical science when machinery is devised enabling a question (e.g. what 
is the temperature ol this body ?) to be answered by means of a pointer reading 
about which there will be general agreement. Such products of critical examin- 
ation are here called "data." Structural corroboration is, very roughly, the 
agreement of fact with fact: it is the linking of facts together by means of 
hypotheses, resulting in the positing of other probable facts. It is obvious 
that we do all make use of such hypotheses in our everyday thinking, though 
we should not normally be prepared to assign the same cognitive value to 
their products as to "refined data" in Professor Pepper's sense. Professor 
Pepper recognises this hesitation in choosing the name "danda" for such 
products. 

The stage is now set for some interesting assertions. Professor Pepper 
argues, first, that in the present state of our knowledge both forms of corrobor- 
ation should be regarded as having cognitive value. This means that he 
rejects the positivist thesis according to which (in his language) refined data 
are the only reliable form of evidence, and the only admissible hypotheses 
add nothing to the facts. He is willing to admit that the positivist theory 
might eventually be established, but regards its establishment as, at present, 
nothing more than a pious and not very well-founded hope. With an undog- 
matic advocacy of the claims of multiplicative corroboration he has no quarrel: 
science, however, exceeds its function if it says dogmatically that its method 
is the only one. Data can thus not claim to be intrinsically superior to danda. 
Secondly, Professor Pepper says that once structural corroboration is admitted, 



PHILOSOPHY 

it is only logical to accept the validity of world hypotheses. The argument 
can be put best in his own words (p. 77) : "As long as there are outlying facts 
which might not corroborate the facts already organised by the structural 
hypothesis, so long will the reliability of that hypothesis be questionable. 
The ideal structural hypothesis, therefore, is one that all facts will corroborate, 
a hypothesis of unlimited scope. Such a hypothesis is a world hypothesis." 
In a later passage (pp. 155 fi.) the author discusses the objections to this 
argument offered by the Theory of Types, only to reject them on the ground 
that the Theory of Types, though claiming to be a purely logical doctrine, 
itself falls within the framework of a particular world hypothesis and cannot 
therefore prescribe to other world theories. 

Some readers will doubtless shuffle in their chairs when they get to this 
point, but it will be profitable, all the same, to postpone criticism until the 
conception of a world hypothesis has been clarified. It is to the study of world 
hypotheses that the author next turns. These hypotheses, he argues, are 
generated as a result of an attempt to give a unified interpretation of all the 
facts of experience in accordance with a single clue, and such a clue is here 
called a "root metaphor." The idea is that we seize on some striking fact in 
experience Professor Pepper would give as instances of such facts the 
character of an event or the phenomenon of organic unity and attempt to 
understand all other facts in the light of categories drawn from it. At the 
basis of every genuine metaphysical system there thus lies the intuition of a 
root metaphor. Every such system is independent of every other one, and 
cannot be judged by conceptions drawn from another system. Even the 
conception of truth, the author argues, is not free from metaphysical bias, 
but varies widely in the different world hypotheses. The test of the adequacy 
of a world hypothesis must hence be purely internal : it must reveal its possi- 
bilities (a) by the extent to which it succeeds in embracing all the facts of 
experience, and (6) by the extent to which it succeeds in giving a precise 
interpretation of every fact and avoids a plurality of equally convincing and 
equally unconvincing explanations. A bad world hypothesis (Professor Pepper 
instances animism and mysticism as a philosophical theory) can readily be 
seen to fall down by these tests, i.e. to lack scope and precision. A second and 
equally important corollary of the root metaphor theory is that eclecticism 
can only introduce confusion into metaphysics. The eclectic makes use of 
categories drawn from different root metaphors, whose true value can only 
be appreciated in their proper context. It should be noted, however, that 
while eclecticism is confusing in theory it may yet be indispensable in practice ; 
and in fact Professor Pepper recommends such a practical eclecticism at the 
end of his book. 

An examination of the history of philosophy shows that men have intuited 
comparatively few root metaphors, and not all of these have given rise to 
world hypotheses of any degree of conviction. The position Professor Pepper 
finally takes up is that, while no world hypothesis so far formulated is free 
of internal defects, there are four theories which deserve to be called rela- 
tively adequate. These theories, here itemed (to avoid controversy) 
Formism, Mechanism, Context ualism and Organicism, are described and 
examined in the second half of the book. The reader will recognise old friends 
beneath these unfamiliar titles, and he cannot but admire the skill with 
which the author presents them (the description of Contextualism, which is 
roughly the metaphysics of Bergson, is particularly convincing). It would be 
interesting to discuss the hypotheses in detail, but space will obviously not 
permit. 

The philosophical school whose doctrines Professor Pepper seems to follow 

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NEW BOOKS 

most nearly in his preliminary analysis is the idealist. He says himself in his 
preface that idealism was the first theory to attract him, and that though for 
a time he reacted so strongly against it as to become successively a dogmatic 
materialist and a pragmatist he has since found empirical grounds for its at 
first apparently purely verbal formulas. It is this sympathy with the idealist 
point of view, one suspects, which makes him refuse any sharp distinction 
between belief and knowledge : the theory of structural corroboration commits 
him, in effect, to a doctrine of degrees of truth. I have already mentioned the 
similarity of Professor Pepper's account of the principles of logic to that of 
the supporters of coherence; and the whole conception of a world hypothesis, 
as here expounded, has obvious idealist affinities. It is significant, for instance, 
that there is no mention of Kant's objections to the use of hypotheses in 
metaphysics, nor any consideration of the question whether concepts known 
to be valid in sense-experience retain their validity when, in Kantian language, 
we attempt to apply them to things in general. After all this it is with some- 
thing of a shock that we read the main conclusions of the book: that idealism 
is only one of four world hypotheses with approximately equal claims on our 
credence, and that any theory which attempts to embrace categories derived 
from different root metaphors or interpret one world hypothesis in terms of 
another cannot be tolerated. There seems to be some radical contradiction 
here, and the reader is not helped by Mr. Pepper's statement (p. 84) that 
"anyone taking a broad and tolerant view of the cognitive situation" might 
be expected to share his views about knowledge, evidence and corroboration. 
This would imply that his preliminary analysis was free from metaphysical 
presuppositions ; yet that it should be is scarcely plausible in view of the later 
development of the argument. 

Despite these criticisms, I hope the book will have a wide public, since it 
is full of clear and intelligent argument and remarkably free from merely 
controversial writing; which is more than can be said of many recent pro- 
nouncements on the same subject. It is a pity there is no index. 

W. H. WALSH. 

The Device of Government. An Essay in Civil Polity. By JOHN LAIRD, LL.D., 

F.B.A. (Cambridge University Press. 1944. pp. 173. Price, 6s. net.) 
The argument of this book may be baldly outlined as follows : 
At the outset the adjectives "gregarious." "social" and "political" are 
distinguished in order to show that, while human beings are possibly by 
nature gregarious, they are only partially social, and are certainly not instinc- 
tively political. Hence, political organisation, which is an arrangement of a 
community by which a supreme power gets obedience by maintaining a 
monopoly of the more serious forms of punishment, is the result of deliberate 
contrivance. Furthermore, although the members of political communities 
differ very widely in their abilities, this does not justify any hasty conclusion 
that, apart from children, there is any considerable class of sane persons who 
are incapable of all political functions. (Ch. I, "Whether Man is by Nature a 
Political Animal," and Ch. II, "Of Natural Slavery, Natural Kingship, and 
Similar Topics"). Force is of the essence of government, which is not necessarily 
the worse for that since there are worse ways than intimidation of securing 
obedience. The device of government works most smoothly when there is 
willing consent to the orders of the sovereign, and is most worth while when 
the willing consent results from informed views on the part of the subjects. 
(Ch. Ill, "Of Government Traditionally said to be by Institution," and Ch. IV, 
"Of Force, Will and Consent in Matters of Government.") Sovereignty is a 
political notion meaning "supreme ruling power." It is of the essence of the 



PHILOSOPHY 

political device that there should be a sovereign, and while sovereignty may 
in fact be limited or divided, there are no inherent moral limits to it, and 
there is no "inviolable sanctuary" into which Governments are for ever 
morally precluded from entering. (Ch. V, "Of Power and Sovereignty/') 
There are strong authoritarian arguments against democracy, particularly 
as regards the inability of an ordinary man to understand political issues of 
any considerable complexity ; but by means of the distinction between adminis- 
tration, for which only a small proportion of the members of a political 
community would be qualified, and political common sense, which in suitable 
conditions may be widely distributed, a strong case may be made out for 
the advantages of democratic rule. Democratic rule may be totalitarian, but 
there is a general presumption in favour of freedom, and "freedom," in 
political contexts, is not difficult to define since it just means "absence of 
constraint." The weakness of totalitarian theories is shown when we ask 
what good purpose is served by Governments being totalitarian, and it emerges 
that totalitarian ignore the differences between communities, states and 
governments. (Ch. VI, "Of Democracy and its Rivals," Ch. VII, "Of Political 
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity," and Ch. VIII, "Of Totalitarian Theories 
of Government.") In the final chapter (Ch. IX, "Of Internationalism and 
Supernationalism") the author distinguishes between a league of nations 
and a governed union of nations, and suggests that not only is there nothing 
inherently absurd in the latter conception, but that such a union might 
possibly keep the peace among states as state governments keep peace among 
groups and factions. Supranational government, however, would necessarily 
involve the supranational use of force. 

Although it is one duty of a philosophical reviewer to indicate the scope 
and argument of the book under review, I am afraid that the above summary 
is far from doing justice to Professor Laird's exposition of his themes. This 
book has nothing in common with the thick and solemn obscurities that so 
often pass in our day for political philosophy and make both teachers and 
students wonder why political philosophy is included in the philosophical 
curriculum. Without talking about the scope of the subject or discussing the 
methods to be employed, Professor Laird makes it quite clear by his own 
practice that what he is about is (a) the clarifying of political notions (e.g. 
ruling, democracy, consent, force), and (b) the discussion of political propositions 
involving judgments of better and worse, i.e. political casuistry. As an example 
of (a) the following discussion of freedom (pp. 117-18) may be quoted: 

"In politics as elsewhere, freedom, strictly understood, is a negative 
conception meaning non-interference. This simple truth is sometimes 
obscured by a failure to draw the relevant distinctions. The question is 
not merely a question of interference or non-interference of the Govern- 
ment with its subjects; for the Government may use its powers to prevent 
one of its subjects from interfering with another of its subjects, and the 
result of such Government action may be a nett gain in freedom. When, 
however, it is argued that a Government, has the duty of promoting as 
well as of protecting the positive conditions of freedom life, health, 
skill and, perhaps, remunerative employment the argument shifts its 
ground in a negligent way, and does not distinguish between the conditions 
of a good life and the conditions of a, free life. It may be true that a good 
life is never very good unless it is free. All the same, the quality and the 
freedom of human action are not the same thing. Very high-grade action 
may be coerced as in a conscript army or munition factory; but action 
which is coerced is never free. That would be a contradiction in terms." 

9 



NEW BOOKS 

As an example of (b) I would refer to the discussion of "equality of oppor- 
tunity" (pp. 128-31) which Professor Laird points out may be advocated on 
the not necessarily consistent grounds of efficiency and of justice, and which, 
when applied in early life through examinations may result in stabilising 
inequalities which later development no longer justifies. 

This is not the place to argue over points of difference, though it is the 
place to mention that the book is equally free from dogmatism and from 
propaganda. I would mention, however, that its approach is neither historical 
nor sociological, and although this is quite legitimate, especially when, as 
in this case, it is obviously deliberate, points which an historical approach 
might bring out are not touched on. An interesting example is in the account 
of sovereignty in which Professor Laird, on the lines of Hobbes, suggests 
that there is no aspect of human life that can a priori be regarded as morally 
unamenable to civil government. The historical study of modern democratic 
ideas shows that religious ideas of individual conscience have deeply influenced 
liberal democracy, and may be found not only in the political writings of the 
Master of Balliol, but also in the views of Professor Laski (". . . that inner 
self in each one of us which we can never yield to anyone's keeping without 
ceasing to be true to our dignity as human beings." Faith, Reason and Civil- 
isation, p. 35). This may be nonsensical, but 1 think it is an important enough 
view to discuss, as indeed Hobbes discussed it, although in a very hostile 
fashion. I notice also that Professor Laird tends to regard law as something 
technical (p. 73, p. 143), rather than moral. In this connection it would have 
been interesting if he had discussed Hobbes's remarkable description of law 
as ''the public conscience" and the vindication that this view receives in such 
works as Roscoe Pound's Law and Morals. 

It is obvious both from the manner and matter of his book that Professor 
Laird has set himself to make the best possible use both of Aristotle and 
Hobbes, with the latter predominating. The work is full of matter, presented 
briefly, clearly, and with wit. I do not know of any book as suitable as this is 
for an introduction to political philosophy, nor does it often happen that a 
book is at once so pointed and so candid. Not the least of its attractions is 
a really useful index. H. B. ACTON. 

A Modern Elementary Logic. By L. SUSAN STEBBING. (Methuen & Co., Ltd., 

London. 1943. Pp. viii -j~ 2I 4- Price 8s. 6d.) 

This excellent book will fulfil a long-felt need. For students taking a first 
year course in Logic there has hitherto been no suitable, complete modern 
English text-book. There are several good text-books of a more advanced 
type of which one is Professor Stebbing's own earlier work, A Modern Intro- 
duction to Logic. Of these certain chapters are suitable for elementary students, 
but the process of reading disconnected chapters of a more advanced book is 
apt to be confusing to beginners, especially to those working without the 
guidance of a teacher. The present book is written to meet the needs of both 
solitary students and those working under tuition. It is written with all 
Professor Stebbing's gift for clear exposition and apt illustration, and avoids 
the controversial issues without which the larger book would be poorer but 
which tend to intimidate elementary students unacquainted with logical 
polemics. The usual topics of first examinations in logic are treated from a 
modern standpoint. Chapter vii is a particularly admirable introduction to 
the notions of propositional functions, variables, material implication and 
entailment. No examiner of elementary logic papers need now feel chary of 
introducing such terms, even by the back door of "Comment on two of the 

9* 



PHILOSOPHY 

following/' among the usual collection of antiques, including the "Universe 
of Discourse/' which Miss Stebbing mercifully consigns to a footnote. The 
book also includes examples with a useful key for solitary workers. Perhaps 
the one defect of the book is that induction and scientific method are confined 
to a single last chapter. As Miss Stebbing explains in her Introduction, there 
are several good, modern works from which a student may supplement his 
reading on these topics. Nevertheless, the book would have been better 
balanced and even more useful with a fuller discussion of these subjects con- 
ducted with Miss Stebbing's particular skill. This is especially so when it is 
remembered that supplementary works may not be easily accessible to 
students working alone, for whom the book is partly intended. It is a good 
book, however, and one that will not be without interest to a wider public 
than that of students working for elementary examinations in logic. 

M. MACDONALD. 



The Spinoza-Hegel Paradox. A study of the choice between traditional idealism 
and systematic pluralism. By HENRY ALONZO MYERS. (Ithaca: Cornell 
University Press. London: Milford. 1944. Pp- xiv ~h 9 6 - Price los. 6d. 
net.) 

The "paradox" is that although Spinoza and Hegel had a number of 
fundamental premises in common, they arrived at opposed conclusions. 
Mr. Myers resolves the paradox by distinguishing between the structure of 
knowledge in itself and the state of knowledge at a given time. Influenced by 
their theological and ethical bias, he holds, Spinoza and Hegel were systematic 
monists, but the content of Hegel's system differs from Spinoza's because 
the late eighteenth century substituted interest in the sciences of growth 
and development for interest in mathematics. 

in dealing with Hegel's debt to Spinoza, Mr. Myers overstates a good case. 
For instance, when he says that "the secret of Hegel is best approached 
through Spinoza," he surely forgets or minimises Hegel's debt to ancient 
Greece; when he says that Hegel "turned to Spinoza for his fundamental 
notion of system," he offers us no reason for writing "Spinoza" instead of 
"Aristotle;" and when he asserts that historians of philosophy have "made 
little of" Hegel's relation to Spinoza, he surely overlooks Hegel's own state- 
ment that "thought must begin by placing itself at the standpoint of Spinoz- 
ism; to be a follower of Spinoza is the essential commencement of all phil- 
osophy," as well as, for example, Mr. Mure's Introduction to Hegel (1940), 
p. xiv. 

Mr. Myers is not merely writing an essay in the history of philosophy; he 
also wishes to show where metaphysical speculation has gone wrong. Spinoza 
puts his attributes on a level with one another, and thus paved the way for 
Mr. Myers' "systematic pluralism" which holds that reality is known through 
a number, potentially infinite, of systems of knowledge, each of which reveals 
the essence of reality from its own point of view. Hegel, on the other hand, 
instead of developing Spinoza's hint, arrange*! his categories hierarchically, 
and thus held that some of these "perspectives" were less true than others; 
monism was saved at the expense of a doctrine of degrees of truth and reality 
which Mr. Myers finds obnoxious. 

This is an interesting essay, but it is slight; Mr. Myers has perhaps tried 
to make too many points in too short a book. In particular, his own episte- 
mology remains obscure, for though his pluralism is made intelligible enough, 
we are left in the dark as to why a mere sum of differing perspectives should 
be called "systematic" at all. T. M. KNOX. 



NEW BOOKS 

Books also received: 

RUDOLF JORDAN. We are Ancestors: or The Age of Responsibility. Cape 

Town: Cape Times, Ltd. 1941. Pp. 220. 6s. 
RUDOLF JORDAN. Homo Sapiens Socialis (Principles of the Philosophy 

of Responsibility). South Africa: Central News Agency, Ltd. 1943. 

Pp. 243. I2s. 6d. 
OLIVER C. QUICK, D.D. The Gospel of the New World. With a Memoir by 

the Archbishop of Canterbury. London: Nisbet Co., Ltd. 1944. 

Pp. xiv -f- IIQ. 6s. 6d. net. 
HENRY ALONZO MYERS. The Spinoza-Hegel Paradox (A study of the choice 

between traditional idealism and systematic pluralism). Ithaca, New 

York: Cornell University Press. London: Humphrey Mil ford, Oxford 

University Press. 1944. Pp. xiv -f 96. Knglish price, xos. 6d. net. 
The Philosophical Forum: An Annual published by The Boston University 

Philosophical Club. Vol. 2. Spring 1944. ^P- 44- 5 cents. 
RAY LEPLEY. The Vevifiability of Value. New York: Columbia University 

Press. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. 1944. 

Pp. xii -f- 267. English price, 22s. net. 
C. E. M. JOAD. Philosophy (The Teach Yourself Books). Published by 

Hodder & Stoughton for The English Universities Press, Ltd. 1944. 

Pp. 228. 33. net. 
W. A. SINCLAIR. An Introduction to Philosophy. Humphrey Milford, Oxford 

University Press. 1944. Pp. 152. 53. net. 
YERVANT H. KRIKORIAN (editor). Naturalism and the Human Spirit. (No. 

8 of the Columbia Studies in Philosophy). New York: Morningsi.de 

Heights: Columbia University Press. Pp. x -f- 397. $4.50. 
A. E. TAYLOR. William George de Burgh, 1866-1943. From the Proceedings 

of the British Academy, Vol. XXIX. London: Humphrey Milford. 

Pp. 24. 35. 6d. net. 
H. A. HODGES, M.A., D.Phil. Wilhelm Dilthey. An Introduction. London: 

Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd. 1944. Pp- x + ] 74* 

los. 6d. net. 

I. A. RICHMOND. Robin George Collingwood, 1889-1943. From the Pro- 
ceedings of the British Academy, Vol. XXIX. London: Humphrey 

Milford. 1944. Pp. 24. 33. 6d. net. 
HELEN WODEHOUSE, M.A., D.Phil. One Kind of Religion. Cambridge 

University Press. 1944. Pp- 20 #- 8s. 6d net. 
MORRIS GINSBERG, M.A., D.Lit. Moral Progress (being the Frazer Lecture 

delivered within the University of Glasgow on April 18, 1944). Glasgow: 

Jackson Son & Co. 1944. Pp. 45. 2s. 3d. net. 
R. WALZER (ed.). Galen on Medical Experience. First edition of the Arabic 

version with English translation and notes. London, New York, 

Toronto: Oxford University Press. 1944. ^P- x ^ ~f~ x ^4- English 

price, I2S. 6d. net. . 

WILMON HENRY SHELDON. Process and Polarity. New York: Columbia 

University Press. London: O.U.P. 1944. Pp- xrv + X 53- English 

price, 133. 6d. net. 

LOUISE SAKE EBY. The Quest for Moral Law. New York: Columbia Univer- 
sity Press. 1944. Pp. x 4- 289. English price, 225. net. 
K. F. REINHARDT, Ph.D. A Realistic Philosophy. Milwaukee: The Bruce 

Publishing Company. 1944. Pp. xii -f 268. $2.75. 

93 



CORRESPONDENCE 

DEAR MEMBER, 

Scientists in liberated Europe need literature dealing with advances made 
in thought in Allied countries during the war. In particular, French scientists and 
philosophers require this literature as quickly as possible. 

We have been asked to appeal to members of the British Institute of Philosophy 
to give to their French colleagues copies of PHILOSOPHY from January 1940 on- 
wards: either complete sets or single numbers. All material sent to France would 
be fully used. Single copies would be microfilmed, and films and abstracts distributed; 
thus the greatest possible use could be made immediately of any periodicals. 

Members who have sets or single copies of PHILOSOPHY to spare are asked to 
send them, at the earliest possible moment, to: The Association of Scientific Workers, 
Hanover House, 73 High Holborn, London, W.C.I. 

Yours sincerely, 
SYDNEY E. HOOPER, 

Editor. 

UNIVERSITY HALL, 14, GORDON SQUARE, LONDON, WC.i. 
March 1945 



To THE EDITOR OF Philosophy 
DEAR SIR, 

Since Dr. Laing quotes me in his article on Kant and Natural Science, perhaps 
I may be allowed a brief comment. 

According to Kant, it is only by experience that we can discover the cause of a 
given effect or the effect of a given cause; and I pointed out that in this respect 
Kant agrees with Hume. On this Dr. Laing is good enough to inform me that it is 
the divergence from Hume not the agreement that will constitute Kant's answer 
to Hume. He fails to indicate that I have stated as any commentator should 
both the divergence and the agreement. Kant differs from Hume in holding that 
we have a priori knowledge of the causal principle itself. As I say in the next sentence : 
"Our a priori knowledge is confined to the statement that every event must have 
a cause." Thus Dr. Laing totally misrepresents my position even in the passage 
quoted not to mention many others. 

The reason behind this misrepresentation seems to lie in a curious prejudice 
which vitiates his argument throughout. He maintains that in order to answer 
Hume Kant must show, not merely that the causal principle can be established 
a priori, but also that particular causal laws can be "deduced" from this principle 
and their truth "guaranteed" by it. He even attributes to Kant himself the claim 
that by establishing the a priori character of the principle of causation he has "auto- 
matically" established "the a priori character of empirical science"! Kant makes 
no claim to establish such a contradiction in terms: on the contrary he consistently 
repudiates it. What Kant claims is that (i) the condition of the discovery of causal 
laws, and indeed the condition of our experience, is the general principle of causation ; 
and (2) that this general principle can be established a priori by the Critical method. 
Kant may or may not be successful in justifying r this answer to Hume, but there 
is no reasonable doubt that it is an answer. Yet Dr. Laing charges Kant with con- 
fusion because he does not give a quite different answer which would manifestly 
be false. Heaven knows there are enough difficulties in Kant's argument without 
adding to them artificially. If Dr. Laing wants to know why Kant did not give the 
kind of answer he demands, the only reply can be that Kant had too much sense. 

H. J. PATON. 

14, MERTON STREET, OXFORD. 
November 9, 1944. 

94 



CORRESPONDENCE 

To THE EDITOR OF Philosophy 

DEAR SIR, 

My quotation from Professor Paton's work on Kant was limited to what I 
considered relevant to the issue raised. I am not aware that this constitutes a "mis- 
representation." My "curious prejudice which vitiates" my argument throughout 
lies, I think, in interpreting Hume differently from Professor Paton. Hume's primary 
problem, as I indicated in the article in question, arises just within that region 
wherein Kant is said "to agree" with Hume, who was concerned in the first instance 
with the propositions that make up physical science in the generally accepted usage 
of the word. The problem concerning the causal principle is for Hume a derivative 
one, arising out of the primary one ; evidently he thought that a solution to the former 
would help him to a solution of the latter; but he finds it necessary to turn to a 
consideration of the discovery of specific causes and effects. I should hesitate to accept 
a*i "answer" as an answer unless it were justified; and I still fail to see that Kant 
ever comes to grips with Hume's problem, especially as Professor Paton admits, if 
1 understand him rightly, that the body of propositions making up "science" lie 
outside the scope of Kant's enquiry. What I was "demanding" was that he should 
have done so. 

B. M. LAING. 
THE UNIVERSITY, SHEFFIELD. 

(Correspondence closed.) 



95 



INSTITUTE NOTES 

We are glad to note that Professor Alfred North Whitehead has been 
recently awarded the O.M. in recognition of his distinguished work in 
Philosophy. 

Members will be notified when occasional lectures are arranged. 

OBJECTS OF THE INSTITUTE 

The British Institute of Philosophy exists to bring leading exponents of 
various branches of Philosophy into direct contact with the general public, 
with the purpose of satisfying a need felt by many men and women in every 
walk of life for greater clearness and comprehensiveness of vision in human 
affairs. 

With this broad educational purpose in view, the Institute 

(1) Provides at suitable times in the day and evening courses of lectures 

by leading exponents in the more important subjects coming within 
the scope of Philosophy. All branches of Philosophy are represented 
Ethics and Social Philosophy, the Philosophy of Law and pf the 
Sciences, of the Fine Arts and of Religion, as well as Logic and 
Metaphysics and Psychology. 
These lectures are free to members. 

(2) Issues a quarterly philosophical journal (free to members). 

(3) Proposes to form a philosophical Library. 

(4) Gives guidance and assistance to individuals in their philosophical 

reading. 

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There are Local Centres of the Institute at Bangor, Cardiff, Liverpool, 
Manchester, Newcastle and Durham, and Sheffield. 

Further information and forms of application for membership 
may be had on application to the Director of Studies, at University 
Hall, 14 Gordon Square, London, W.C.I. 

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I bequeath to THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY the sum 

of free of duty, to be applied to the purposes of 

that Institute, and I declare that the receipt of the Honorary Secretary, or 
other proper officer for the time being of tiiat Institute, shall be sufficient 
discharge for the same. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

I. FINALITV IN THEOLOGY. PROFESSOR JOHN LAIRD ... 99 
II. LIFE AND PLEASURE (I). The late H. W. B. JOSEPH . .117 

III. OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS. W. D. FALK, M.A. ... 129 

IV. PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION. 

MAUD BODKIN, M.A. 148 

V. SYMBOL AND MYTH. DR. ALEXANDER ALTMANN .... 162 

VI. DISCUSSION: THE PHILOSOPHY OF BERTRAND RUSSELL. 

PROFESSOR L. J. RUSSELL / 172 

VII. NEW BOOKS !8j 

VIII. INSTITUTE NOTES I9 2 



THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY 
MESSAGE TO READERS 

DURING the war, the Institute has succeeded both in publishing its Journal 
regularly, even though reduced somewhat in size and frequency of issue; 
and in providing a minimum of lectures on topics of philosophy. Now that 
the war in Europe is over, it is desired, as soon as possible, not only to 
restore the Journal to its original format and number of issues, but also to 
arrange lectures and meetings on a gradually increasing scale. Readers of 
the Journal will be aware that the war has inevitably reduced the income 
of the Institute, whilst at the same time increasing its cost of production 
by approximately 75 per cent. In order, therefore, that generous services 
may be provided to those interested in philosophical matters, it is clearly 
necessary that the income of the Institute should be considerably augmented. 
This can only be done through an increase in membership and by donations 
and bequests. 

The Editor desires to express his gratitude to members and readers of the 
Journal who have already responded to his earlier note, and hopes that their 
example will be widely followed. 

EDITOR. 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 
BY UNWIN BROTHERS LIMITED 
LONDON AND WOKING 



PHILOSOPHY 

THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INSTITUTE 
OF PHILOSOPHY 



VOL. XX. No. 76 JULY 1945 

FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

PROFESSOR JOHN LAIRD 

THEOLOGY, or the science of God, has to be distinguished from 
religion which might be godless, may contain very little of science, 
dogma, or creed, and sometimes consists very largely of the habit, 
attitude, or even the mode of public or private devotion or ritual. 

Therefore many would say that religion is a deeper and a greater 
thing than any theology however pretentious. Text-books of science 
have their place, we may be told, but only a menial place. Doctors 
are only teachers and should not be mistaken for masters. A language 
is too big for its grammar. So theology should attend to these 
analogies and abate its pretensions. 

Nevertheless there are few, however devout they may be and how- 
ever loyal to religious traditions, who would deny outright that 
their religion implies something that can be stated in the form of a 
belief or that belief claims to be true, invites precise formulation and 
is consequently examinable. Religious persons may themselves have 
very little appetite for much of that kind of thing and may be con- 
fident that those whose appetite for it is stronger than theirs are 
usually rather sickly in their spiritual condition. But they cannot 
deny that the thing exists, that there is a field for principles, for 
their formulation and for rigorous inquiry into the said formulation. 
In other words they admit the existence of theology, in posse if not 
in esse, unless they are Hinayana Buddhists or belong to some other 
species of devout atheists, and even then it is largely a matter of 
definition whether these devout atheists are extruding theology or 
pursuing it. 

In several of the greater and more highly developed religions, 
particularly in those which put their reliance, in a marked degree, 
upon their sacred scriptures, a claim to exclusiveness, for all time if 

99 



PHILOSOPHY 

not for all planets, is expressly or more covertly made. That is a 
claim to finality, not indeed in the sense that there may not be 
developments within the faith, but in the sense that the faith itself, 
being the only true way, has no competitors and will never be sur- 
mounted by a truer faith. This claim, being a claim to exclusive 
truth, implies a similar claim on the part of the doctors who expound 
the theology or science of the faith. I want to offer some comments 
on such theological exclusiveness in the present essay. 

If anyone knows that his religion is final and therefore exclusive 
there is nothing more to be said, at any rate in his presence. The 
same is true if he kr>ows that the finality of his theology faithfully 
reflects the finality of his religious vision. Even in that case, however, 
the man who knows may attempt to persuade others less fortunately 
circumstanced. If so he has to dispute with the others as Paul seems 
to have done with the Stoics and Epicureans at Athens before he 
told the Athenians from the Areopagus who their unknown God was. 

In other words, there are occasions when professions of knowledge 
are not enough, however sincere these professions may be, and these 
occasions are much more searching when there is no agreed back- 
ground, of sacred scripture, say, on which the would-be persuader 
and his hearers both rely. What is to be done when Christians accept 
both the Old and the New Testaments, when Jews accept only the 
Old, when Mohammedans accept the Koran, when Hindus accept 
the Vedanta and the Bhagavadgita ? There is nothing for it, then, 
except general theological argument. The conviction, the passionate 
conviction of exclusiveness and finality is scarcely enough. It may 
suffice for religion but not for theology. 

Would we not all like to ask, not ' 'What is theology here or theology 
there, theology in this tradition or in that tradition ?" but, quite 
simply, "What is theology ?" Is there not something profoundly 
unsatisfactory if theology is never, or hardly ever, discussed, and if, 
instead of theology, what is discussed is always Christian theology, 
or the theology of Hinduism or the like ? True, it might be still more 
accurate to speak of Christian or Hindu theologies in the plural 
rather than of Christian or Hindu theology in the singular. That, 
how r ever, is no answer to the charge of naive isolationism, one of the 
most serious charges that can be brought against anything that sets 
up to be a science. Is this attitude the attitude, say, of those who 
habitually speak as if "all the world 1 ' were Christian when they 
know it isn't even feebly defensible at the present time? And is its 
defence stronger in theology than elsewhere? No doubt, in view of 
what has happened and is still happening in this twentieth century 
it would be foolish to suppose that all races and peoples have come 
to understand one another much better than they used to do: but 
surely it has become very difficult indeed to remain blandly content 

100 



FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

with any sort of ideological isolationism whether theological or of any 
other variety. 

If this be admitted it would seem that four different attempts 
could be made, each sufficiently distinct to warrant separate dis- 
cussion. The first would be an attempt to discover a common basis 
for all the major religions, to regard this common basis as the essential 
substance of theology, and perhaps for theologians to agree to differ 
on matters which leave the common basis behind. The second would 
be the policy of differing to agree, that is to say, an attempt to 
explore differences, in the hope, ultimately, of arriving at a higher 
synthesis. The third would be a policy of toleration, to live and let 
live and no more about it. The fourth would be a missionary policy, 
that is to say, to assert and, let us hope, to give good theological 
reasons for the exclusive claims of the theology of some particular 
religion and therefore, as decently as possible but at any rate firmly, 
to try to convince the rest of the world. 

I shall try to offer a brief discussion of each of the four. 

I 

The first way seems the simplest, and, superficially at any rate, 
the most attractive. The major religions of the world, we are told, 
grew up independently, each in its own quarter of the globe, although 
subsequently spreading fairly widely in a vast variety of ways. 
Each, nevertheless, achieved a theism having marked similarities to 
the theism of the others, and the circumstance was duly reflected 
in the major theologies of each. Hence a broad common basis is not 
a dream: and concurrent, largely independent, testimony should 
have very great weight, just as in any other question of evidence. 
Is it not reasonable to expect such a basis to be the surest foundation 
of any theological superstructure likely to be stable? How could 
religions and theologies expect to survive if they did not pool their 
resources in this way? It is the way of sanity in all human affairs. 
Men never see eye to eye about everything. Unless they fritter their 
energies away in mere futilities, they unite on a broad policy among 
the like-minded, and mobilize accordingly. 

We are learning this lesson intratheologically, the argument 
proceeds, so why not apply it intertheologically? Within any given 
faith, schisms may often hate been justified in their origins; but 
their perpetuation is something very like a crime. In matters of 
doctrine the Free Churches of Europe may find it hard to remain 
permanently estranged from the body from which they seceded, and 
their disputes seem trivial when transported to Asia or to Africa. It 
may be harder to apply the same argument to Greek Orthodoxy, 
Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism, to say nothing of Abyssinian 

101 



PHILOSOPHY 

Christians and Nestorian communities in the Far East, but the same 
principle, if harder to apply, may still appear to be essentially sound. 
When Locke and Leibniz reflected on the wrack that the wars of 
religion had brought about in Europe, did they not plead for a 
common basis of Christianity based primarily (they thought), upon 
the reasonableness of Christianity's essential message? It was a 
simple plea; but was it not also profound? Why then restrict the 
argument to Christian theologies? If all the major theologies have a 
common basis, should they not, by their union, achieve a stronger 
thing than even a united Christendom could ever hope for? tet 
theists unite like other men of good will. There is something wrong 
with them if they remain persistently aloof from one another, a 
lack of " tragic earnest" in their attack upon the world, the flesh and 
the devil. 

The reply, I suppose, would be that there is no justifiable analogy 
between schisms and heresies within a theological tradition and the 
separation between theologies which express distinctively different 
religions. Many of the former differences refer to ritual or church 
government rather than to doctrine, and although differences of this 
order may be much more theological than they seem, since, for 
instance, they may entail consequences concerning what is or is not 
idolatry, they would not commonly justify more than a theological 
civil war from which all parties might properly agree to exclude 
foreign troops. Schisms, again, are often due to dissatisfaction with 
the practice of priests and ecclesiastics at any given time, and, once 
the protest has been emphatically made, cannot be rationalized into 
anything very considerable in the way of theological doctrine. In 
short, it is quite easy to maintain that while there are no adequate 
grounds for separation, much less for contumacious and internicine 
separation within, let us say, Christian theology, there are very much 
stronger grounds for intertheological separatism. 

Obviously this reply has a certain force although some may think 
that the theological differences between Christian doctors to keep 
to that instance are at least as great as the differences between 
some of them and some theological doctors who are not Christians. 
The main question, however, is whether it is or is not possible to 
construct a common platform on which the doctors of all the major 
religions could sit in harmonious dignity. 

A frequent complaint is that such a platform would be far too 
thin for the safety and comfort of any of them. The common de- 
nominator of the major religions, we may be told, is far too attenuated 
to give solid support for any ponderable religion; and similarly of 
their associated theologies. It is begging the question (the argument 
continues) to say or assume that on this wide scale, the points of 
agreement among the major religions and their satellite theologies 
102 



FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

come anywhere near to exhausting the essentials of any one of them. 
The objection is just the objection to milk and water, especially to 
what is more watery than milky. Similarly, and with the aid of less 
innocent metaphors, we may be invited to remember that the corrup- 
tion of the best is the worst, and to extend that principle beyond the 
mere decay of the best and make it include all that rivals the best 
by appearing but failing to express much the same thing. An out-and- 
out atheist, it may be said, is better than a Christian heretic, or an 
unattached theist with a roving commission bearing his own image 
aAd superscription. And similarly in other theologies. 

Accordingly the palmary question would seem to be whether the 
major religions with their interpretative theologies do or do not 
agree upon fundamentals, and, if so, upon what fundamentals. On 
what precisely do they agree? 

Plato, in his Laws, very early in the tenth book, said that there 
were three kinds of atheist, namely, the man who said there were 
no gods "as the laws would have him believe/' the man who held 
that although there were gods they paid no heed to mankind, and 
the man who supposed in his foolish heart that the gods could be 
bribed by sacrifices and cajoled by prayers. 

In a wide sense that may be taken to mean that nothing is to be 
accounted theism unless it is magic-free ethical monotheism. If so, 
a common inter-religious and inter-theological basis for the major 
religions might be practicable and not altogether vague. True, there 
are few theologies and no religions whose sacramentalism is easy to 
distinguish from magic, and the magics are so very various that a 
basis of sacramental agreement is not very promising. Still there are 
strong and general theological tendencies to rid theologies and re- 
ligions of the incubus of magic, and a resolute effort on these lines 
should not be unwelcome anywhere to the most sincere friends of 
philosophy, religion, and theology. Similarly, and still more forcibly 
regarding monotheism of an ethical cast. Plato's phrase "the gods 
in whom the laws of his city would have him believe" suggests 
something parochial or at any rate regional, but if we were to say 
that all the major theologies are concerned with the God (or divine 
society) of the universe, the hyper-cosmic, super-celestial ground of 
all that doth appear, we should be approaching a common basis of 
theology which was essential to any theology worth the name. If, 
further, we were to say thaf ethical monotheism is essential to good 
religion and to sound theology we might reasonably be supposed 
to be ascribing a measure of soul as well as some firmness of body to 
the basis of agreement. 

Such a view could defend itself fairly successfully against a good 
deal of criticism. "Monotheism," it is true, may not be much more 
than an umbrella under which the most diverse beliefs take shelter. 

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PHILOSOPHY 

In that case there may be little point in proclaiming "Lo; There is 
just one umbrella." "God" is a very general and may be a very 
ambiguous name. Is he "limited" or "unlimited"? Is the pronoun 
appropriate? Are pantheistic conceptions of "him" conciliable with 
any others? Is "he" a being at all or only a Logos, or, again, a 
numinous aura? These and their like are very important theological 
questions, but they may be and they are raised within the theologies 
of several great religions. Consequently it is not immediately apparent 
that many-religioned agreement on such matters would be paler or 
more emaciated than single-religioned agreement; and even whefe 
the differences appear to be marked, complete estrangement should 
not follow. Jews and Mohammedans, I suppose, object to Christianity, 
among other grounds, on the ground that it is imperfectly mono- 
theistic. They accuse it of tritheism. Christians deny that trini- 
tarianism is tritheism, although, unfortunately they have elected to 
cloak their denial with an impossible patchwork of metaphysics. All 
the same, differences of this order need not be final and should not be 
exaggerated for polemical purposes. 

Similarly of the ethical aspects of ethical monotheism. It is very 
generally agreed in many parts of the world that God is supremely 
good as well as supremely great, and that his goodness is not irrelevant 
to man's. Certainly there are acute differences of belief regarding 
what constitutes goodness and righteousness either in man's case or 
in God's, and, again, regarding the extent to which God's righteous- 
ness, largely inscrutable, is devoid of any visible resemblance to 
man's. On the first point, however, it is fair to say that there is a 
very considerable degree of ethical agreement among mankind, that 
several religions and theologies allow deep internal differences on 
matters of ethics, and that the search for a common ethical world- 
creed is not wholly impracticable. There is nothing absurd in com- 
paring the views of Mencius with those of St. James, the Eastern 
ideal of detachment from individual personal consciousness as well 
as from the world with the more militant type of bliss commonly 
favoured in the West ; and so on. So of the second point. The measure 
or the measurelessness of the difference between God's goodness and 
man's is a general theological question not peculiar to this theology 
or that other, and it need not raise a very formidable barrier between 
most of the greater religious traditions. 

Plato's requirement that theists must' believe that the gods "pay 
heed to mankind" seems to assert a providential as well as an ethical 
monotheism. Here a basis of common agreement might be more 
difficult, as also with regard to the kindred notion of a redeeming 
Providence or Saviour of mankind. In the East, Krishna or Ishvara 
would play such a part ; but not Brahman. More generally, if we could 
say, with Bowman, that Christianity's main business is to oppose 

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FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

"the drift towards the impersonal 1 ' the path of conciliation might 
seem to be very stony indeed. There would, however, be substance 
in the reply that insistence upon the "personality" of God has tended 
to be much more emphatic and also much more naive in the last 
century or two of Protestant Christian theology than ever before, 
that the Logos doctrine and much else in Christianity is not con- 
spicuously "personal," and that if Christians have succeeded among 
themselves, although perhaps by inadvertence, in accepting or at 
any rate in tolerating views of the deity which are impersonal 
rstther than personal, and, indeed, hypertheistic rather than theistic, 
a wider human constituency, even if it were sharper-witted than the 
Christian, might have equal success. 

On the other hand, if it were maintained that Christianity's solu- 
tion of the riddle of existence is contained primarily in the Incarnation 
itself, and if the Incarnation really is the Incarnation, a genuine and 
unique historical event, not a myth or a poem however instructive, 
it is hard to see how there could be genuine agreement between 
Christians and others in a big way. The Christian contention would 
be that ethical monotheism, unilluminated by the actual history 
contained in the Gospels, is far too dim to reveal the greatest matters 
of theology and religion. The proposed basis of agreement would 
collapse because it was not an agreement on essentials, the prime 
essential being absent. To ignore the point would be even more 
foolish than Gibbon's absurd gibe that only an iota stood between 
homoousians and homoiousians. 

The same would be true of any other religion or theology which 
from the nature of the case made exclusive claims, and was bound 
to put them in the forefront. 

Here, for the time-being we may leave the matter, although it is 
bound to reappear in various forms. Theistic agreement upon ethical 
monotheism, let us say, would be something, but, for some religions 
and theologies, not nearly enough. If such a difference, despite other 
agreements, made all the difference, it is not clear that there would 
be a greater harmony between all theists than between some theists 
and some atheists. Buddhists, for instance, although they are atheists, 
might agree much more closely with Sankara, who was not an 
atheist, than Calvin or Barth would. 



II 

The way of divergent development in the hope of a new synthesis 
may seem to be more promising, at any rate if the term "synthesis" 
is construed rather liberally. Religions are living growths in which 
all the shoots and tendrils of human nature are intertwined; the 
same may be true of theologies though they are not usually so lush 

105 



PHILOSOPHY 

of life. And syncretism, that feeble mimic of synthesis, has been very 
common indeed. Sometimes a political government deliberately 
imported foreign deities. That, very frequently, was the policy of the 
Roman republic in times of disaster. Again, there has been mingling 
by infiltration. Cults, notions, and ideals are apt to gain a parasite's 
living room, and to retain it even when attempts are made to smoke 
them out. There may also be a form of synthesis by mutual accom- 
modation, as when a people nominally Christianized is encouraged 
to retain its old feast days tricked out with Palestinian emblems. 
Was not the papacy the ghost of the Holy Roman Empire? How 
many ingredients went to the making of Arminianism ? One expects 
a religion to be a fusion of mixed elements, just as one expects a 
"race" to be. 

Such religious intermingling is reflected in many theologies, and 
the same may occur in deliberate theological science when the 
synthesis is undertaken in a studied way. What could have been 
more important for the history of Christianity than the historical 
circumstance that it turned towards Greek metaphysics as early as 
the sub-apostolic age and ceased to be primarily evangelical or 
messianic? What again could have had greater historical significance 
than the fact that metaphysical-theological enterprise took place in 
the regions of the Levant, at the strategic confluence of Eastern and 
Western ideological forces? The Levant was a seed-plot for hybri- 
dizing, for co-reflection, for syntheology. When the day comes 
(and it may be approaching) when all the world is an intellectual 
Alexandria, what is to prevent planetary theological symbiosis ? 

In general the problem of genuine synthesis in philosophy or in 
theology is the problem of discovering the unity, if possible the 
necessary unity, of truths that seem to be very different if not 
flatly opposed. Illustrations of such an enterprise may be seen in 
two very striking attempts at synthetic construction, those, namely, 
of Aquinas and of Hegel. These attempts, as we shall see, have a 
somewhat different problem from the problem of synthesis of the 
major religions and their theologies, and the difference is instructive. 
There is sufficient resemblance, however, to justify investigation. 

Aquinas's problem was to synthesize to think together in a 
genuine integrity two great independent systems each of which 
he believed to be true and indeed unchallengeable namely, Greek 
science or philosophy (i.e. the rediscoverefl Aristotle) and Christianity 
and to show that the latter completed and perfected the former 
not arbitrarily but in principle and without substantial modification 
on either side. Since there need be no general presumption that science 
(or philosophy) is opposed in principle either to theology or to religion, 
the general idea of their union presented no insuperable difficulty; 
and Aquinas's greatness consisted in the skill and fidelity of his 

106 



FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

actual systematic construction. Obviously, however, there would be 
quite a different situation if the problem were not to combine two 
systems neither of which was believed to compete with the other 
except by accident (both being immune to serious challenge) but, in- 
stead, to combine religions and theologies which were competitors in the 
same field and whose truth could not be taken for granted, being very 
largely upon trial in each instance. In the second case the synthesis 
or co-inquiry would be likely to involve a degree and kind of re-inquiry 
not contemplated in the first case; and confidence in the result would 
be likely to be proportionately diminished. 

In Hegel's ambitious and very striking philosophy of religion, the 
upshot was that Christianity could be shown to be the final synthesis 
of all that is true in religion although it was only as true as religion 
can be, that is to say, truer than anything else except the philosophy 
of Spirit, i.e. the philosophical self-manifestation of the Absolute. 
Clearly such a solution would differ in two cardinal respects from 
most other attempts to effect a synthesis of the major religions and 
their theologies. Its finding would be that Christianity was the 
synthesis in question, the other religions or theologies being splendid 
failures but no more, not that Christianity was, like the rest, some- 
thing that, much transformed, awaited inclusion in a higher religion. 
It would also deny that a religious synthesis could in the end be 
genuinely adapted to theology if theology is really divine science, 
philosophy, or truth; for theology would always be sub-scientific 
and sub-philosophical. Despite these very important differences, 
however, Hegel's attempt should be held in constant remembrance 
by all who aspire after a comprehensive syntheology. 

There would be room for an intelligible synthesis if each of the 
major religions and their theologies laid narrow or exaggerated 
emphasis upon complementary aspects of the truth, and there would 
further be a direct invitation to philosophical synthesis if there were 
an immanent dialectic in the quest, that is to say, if every inadequate 
or exaggerated theologico-religious system swung over to its own 
proper complement with an unmistakable nisus, and if this process 
went on and on from the barest to the fullest theologico-religious 
system. Nor would it greatly matter if, sometimes, there were 
alternative "proper" complements, provided that these alternative 
routes led eventually to the same haven without intolerable disorder. 

Such was the process that Hegel contemplated. He even supposed 
that the historical order of the development of religions corresponded 
in time with the distinctive steps in the logic of the theological 
dialectic. Some of his transitions, it is true, were rather arbitrary. 
Thus he held that sublimity (in Judaism) swung over to Beauty 
(in Greek religion) and that the movement culminated in Utility (in 
Roman religion). Other Hegelian transitions, however, looked much 

107 



PHILOSOPHY 

less arbitrary. We may or may not agree with what he said about the 
religions of Persia, Syria, and Egypt, but the type of transition that 
he professed to discern in their case is a good illustration of what 
would be a dialectical evolution if the facts were as Hegel saw them. 
In Zoroastrianism, Hegel said, there was an external dualism between 
good and evil, light and darkness, Ormuzd and Ahriman. In the 
''Syrian" religious cults the rift came from within, and came near to 
healing by first intention for the phoenix rose from its ashes and 
Adonis rose from the dead. In the Egyptian religious system, 
according to Hegel, Osiris became the lord of all departed spirits 
as well as the lord of the living, and so was capable of a fuller triumph 
than was possible in the Syrian form of religion. 

Hegel held that Christianity was the culmination of religious 
dialectic, only to be surmounted by what went beyond religion, 
because in it alone spirit was reconciled from all its distractions, 
worldly, fleshly, and near-spiritual. It had reached the Absolute 
although only in the imperfect imaginative way of a religion. He 
had or professed to have a clear vision of the goal and so was able 
or professed to be able to give a final judgment upon the success of 
any attempted synthesis. This raises the question whether, without 
such a standard, an attempt at dialectical syntheology could be 
more than groping. In short, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that 
theologians who aim at a vast religious synthesis must be or believe 
themselves to be highly superior observers and indeed super theologians. 
Must they not believe themselves capable of discerning the finer 
essence in all the great religions and theologies ? Must they not believe 
themselves capable of placing all such doctrines and of uniting them 
in a hierarchy? That might be practicable if one knew the answer 
in advance, not necessarily in detail but at least in general principle. 
It would be much more hazardous if the answer were hidden, and 
had to be approached with many false and fitful starts. 

This, as it seems to me, is the greatest difficulty that such an 
ambitious synthesis in religion or philosophy has to face. It need 
not, however, be insuperable. Every would-be synthesizer, at any 
rate for a great part of his enterprise, must keep pretty close to 
points of doctrine which have been developed pretty fully in the 
major theologies. What he draws upon is religion itself in its 
theological bearings. If that be suspect in any considerable degree 
the whole attempt at synthesis is little 'more than an intellectual 
flirtation, not a serious pursuit with honourable intentions. There- 
fore unless the synthesizer has the effrontery to hold that all the 
greater theologians in all the greater traditions have fumbled and 
stumbled, erred and strayed in the most preposterous way, he is 
bound to respond to the chords that have been struck by these very 
theologians. Hence the necessary distinction between agreeing on a 

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FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

common basis, and differing in order to discover a higher synthesis 
is less than it might seem. 

Power which must be more than planetary if it is to be the 
impregnable rock and succour even of petty men. Some affinity 
between this power and man's spirit, that is to say, man's mind and 
deepest hopes and purest aspirations. Some tendency in the heart 
of things towards bliss and peace and redemption not unhuman 
although very likely much more than human. In some such ways 
as these, despite all their differences, the greater religions and 
theologies tend to combine. If the peace that passeth understanding 
is better understood in the patient East than in the bustling West, 
why should it not be so? If Islam has the firmest conception of 
God's power, why should the thing be impossible? If there is more 
of tenderness and of compassion in Christian theology than elsewhere, 
why, despite the savagery of certain Christian theologians, and despite 
so much in Christian practice, should the fact be denied or forgotten ? 

Ill 

The third policy is a policy of deliberate and final isolationism in 
religious culture, a policy of avoiding, not all contacts for business 
and geographical contacts need not matter but all contacts of 
religion, and of declining to encourage such contacts in any relevant 
way when they cannot be avoided altogether. Muslim, Jew, and 
Greek Orthodox may live together and chaffer together and die 
together in Bosnian villages, and the Franciscans may have a strong- 
hold just across the valley. That is irrelevant if each religious com- 
munity goes its several religious way. 

This policy seems better adapted to religion than to theology. 
None of the major religions, it may be said, has had a strong hold 
on men's minds unless it has had a fairly large number of adherents 
united in a common institution, vivified by constant interchange of 
ideas on the part of like-minded men and women who live by their 
religion (or profess to do so) and test it sedulously and continuously 
by life's exacting standards. A certain extension of the argument 
from religion to theology, however, may seem to be readily 
defensible. Theologies which do not have their roots in the religious 
experience of such communities (we are told) are very unlikely to 
flourish, and their flowering, if they flourish at all, is only for a day. 

Take a cultural analogy let us say, the growth of a language. 
There may be a case for a world-language, and particularly for a 
world-language not imposed by force by world-conquerors who do 
not like to take the trouble to learn any language except their own. 
Such a world-language, while it could scarcely be a synthesis of all 
the tongues on the globe, might very well be compounded of several 

109 



PHILOSOPHY 

spoken languages and have minor indebtedness to a swarm of other 
spoken languages. A synthetic world-language of this kind might be 
preferable to basic English or uninflected Latin, and, in time, 
might become more than an instrument for commercial exchange. 
It might conceivably come to develop a literature. 

That would be a possible cultural development, but in the case of 
language it is not at all a probable development. Up to a point 
dialects tend to coalesce with certain loss, but, on the whole, with 
greater gain. Beyond that point languages, as distinct from dialects, 
flourish best and develop a literature when they are sensitive to their 
own purity and are neither imitators of others nor borrowers from 
others. That is true even of a language like English whose origins 
are very mixed, and whose standards, often, have suffered from too 
much conscious imitation of Latin, French, and Italian models. 

In the end a language is an independent growth, and its best 
policy would seem to be a policy of linguistic isolationism however 
intricate the commercial, industrial, and political world-contacts 
may be. Business men can afford to be bi- or multi-lingual: writers 
very seldom. This fact, it is true, may not be wholly unalterable. 
In the past it may have been due to historical causes which no longer 
prevail. He would be a bold man, however, who predicted that, 
in time, some single world-language with its world-literature will not 
only oust all the others but will also excel them where they are subtlest 
and most delicate. It is at least permissible to believe precisely the 
opposite. So, if the analogy held, there would be more to be hoped 
from religious isolationism than from religious fusion. 

This analogy may have some value. Religion, like language, is 
part of the culture of a community. On the other hand, the analogy 
need not be worth very much. We are not entitled to assume that all 
the constituents of culture have a parallel development. 

For instance, we may doubt the force of the analogy when we 
remember the strength that an alien religion may speedily gain. I 
allow that an alien language may also be predatory, but its appetite 
is not comparable to the voracity of a religion. 

Consider the hold that the Jewish Bible obtained in a country 
like Scotland. The Scots may have certain resemblances to the Jews 
enough, at any rate, to help a comedian with his patter. But how 
did it come about that an island people in a climate politely called 
temperate came to think, in the religious way, in terms of the hot 
and arid East, to thirst for springs of living water when it was itself 
mostly water-logged, to talk habitually of locusts, palms, and almond 
trees and of sojourning in a wilderness as unlike a Scottish forest as 
could well be imagined ? One might almost conjecture that a religion 
is the stronger for being imported, for drawing upon imagery which 
is remote and mysterious and as good as other-planetary to the bulk 

no 



FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

of the hearers. No doubt many Scottish believers thought in terms 
of their own environment whatever their lips might say. On the 
walls of Lutheran churches in some of the Hanseatic ports the 
participants in the scenes near Calvary are depicted in black coats 
and silk hats. (It is difficult to illustrate the point from the gaunt 
walls of a Scottish kirk.) Such grotesque congruity (or incongruity), 
however, does not affect the main point at issue, namely the 
difference between the imaginative religious background and the 
familiar ways of common life. It is easier, on the whole, to escape, 
imaginatively, into an unknown country which, despite its hidden 
mystery, is such a long way short of heaven as not to seem quite 
empty and intangible in its splendour. 

Accordingly, while there may be quite good arguments for 
linguistic isolationism, and for various other forms of cultural 
isolationism, perhaps in sport, perhaps in art, perhaps in political 
government, it is not nearly so clear that religious isolationism has 
the same strong natural basis. On the whole, religions have been 
more successful, not less successful than other forms of human 
culture in their diffusiveness, even to the point of attempting to 
embrace the whole habitable globe. The reason is obvious. The 
greater religions have evolved a theology which is not merely 
planetary but cosmic or even hyper-cosmic. Therefore the omens 
for theological isolationism are not at all favourable, even if the 
arguments for religious isolationism were stronger than I believe 
them to be. 

IV 

It remains to consider the case in which a religion, faith, or 
theology claims and, after consideration persists in the claim, that 
it and it alone is the final truth, so having the duty of setting all 
others right. As regards Christianity, this was the robust attitude 
of Paley in his Evidences. "I desire," he there said "that in judging 
of Christianity it may be remembered that the question lies between 
this religion and none; for, if the Christian religion be not credible, 
no one with whom we have to do will support the pretensions of any 
other/ 1 It would be rather unusual for Christian theologians to be so 
very blunt and so very confident nowadays, and most unchristian 
theologies are less intolerant than most Christian theologies. Quite 
recently, however, Dr. Hensley Henson quoted the above statement 
of Paley's in his book Christian Morality, and declared that "Paley's 
declaration in 1794 remains without effective challenge in 1935. " A 
great many Christian theologians quietly assume that it is so 
although, unlike Earth, they may be reluctant to make quite such 
an open declaration. 

If this be the attitude there may seem to be no honest alternative 

in 



PHILOSOPHY 

to a frankly missionary effort where other religions or theologies 
are concerned. These can never be treated as equals. "Let us all get 
together round the table" cannot be a serious suggestion. Given 
the claim to finality, little may seem to be left for the missionary's 
discretion except matters of courtesy, diplomacy, or policy. As a 
matter of courtesy other views should be allowed full expression, 
and diplomacy is just courtesy employed not for its own sake but for 
some other purpose. Policy also although such a policy is dangerous 
may suggest the advisability of beginning with an attempt to 
discover common ground and in concealing the claim to finality 
for a time. 

The upshot of such a view, however, may seem to be simply that 
concession or compromise would be treachery and surrender. In a 
sense, therefore, there is nothing more to be said about the matter. 
On the other hand, the claim to finality may be based on several 
grounds, not all of which involve the same sort of intransigence. 
This aspect of the matter, although it is subordinate, should also 
be discussed. 

Speaking of Christian morality rather than of Christian theology 
or religion though this triad, in his opinion, is not dissociable 
Dr. Hensley Henson, in the volume already mentioned, argues that 
Christian morality is "final" in comparison with all other moralities 
because it alone is genuinely ' 'natural" in the sense of that word 
which found expression in the ancient terms of ius naturae and, less 
precisely, of ins gentium. In other words, he holds that Christian 
morality and it alone is capable of becoming the true and acceptable 
morality of all mankind. A typical and very candid expression of his 
view occurs in the following passage : 

"The point on which we insist, as implied in the statement that 
Christian morality is natural, is the agreement between the conduct 
which Christianity requires and that which human civilization at 
its best insists upon. Christianity is in human society a moral influ- 
ence which stimulates every element in it which is properly described 
as natural. This is the reason why Christian civilization has become 
the norm of modern civilization. In India, in China, in Japan there 
are distinctive civilizations which have flowered richly in art and 
literature, and still succeed in holding the allegiance of numerous 
communities. But all are 'cribbed, cabined, and confined' within 
local and racial conditions. It is inconceivable that they should win 
acceptance in Europe and America. Christian civilization alone has 
the strength, range, and elasticity which make universal adoption 
ultimately inevitable. Whether when so adopted it will retain its 
ancestral connection with Christianity may be doubtful, but about 
the connection there can be no question." 1 

* Christian Morality, pp. 154 f. 
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FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

I should be digressing were I to try to examine this remarkable 
argument in detail. How can Christian morality be final if civiliza- 
tion at its height may lose its ancestral connection with Christianity? 
Does it stand to reason that the civilization of Europe and America 
may not have more to learn from the ancient civilization of the 
East than the East has from them? Is it morality or religion that 
have made Europe and America so very strong in the world ? Has 
not Pundit Nehru recently made the very same claim to implicit 
universality for his religion as Dr. Henson makes here for Chris- 
t&nity ? If Christianity has succeeded in some sucli way, may the 
reason not be that it has a greater genius for assimilation than any 
other religion? 

What I want to point out is something that involves no digression, 
namely that if the superiority of some given religion or theology to 
all others is defended on grounds such as Dr. Henson's, the whole 
question is open to rational argument, and, despite Dr. Henson's 
approval of Paley, is wholly opposed in spirit to Paley's attitude. 
The question is essentially a question for general discussion. As Dr. 
Henson says in another passage, "a genuinely Catholic Christianity 
which has incorporated into its dominion the distinctive genius of 
the Japanese, the Chinese, the Hindu, the Arab, and the African 
will be vastly richer and nobler than any version of Christ's religion 
which the world has hitherto known. All the ethical treasures of 
humanity will finally find complete and permanent expression in 
Christian morality/' The emphasis here is upon catholicity, upon 
universality, and upon the contribution that the * 'distinctive 
genius" of Japan, China, and Palestine make to it. What is to be 
expected is a mixed not an exclusively Christian ancestry, however 
confident the Christians may be that whatever is catholic or universal 
will in the end owe more to Christianity than to anything else. 

There would be quite a different type of finality, and of missionary 
zeal based on finality, if the contention were that Christian theology 
is ultimately based upon a unique historical occurrence in Palestine 
about two millennia ago, i.e. upon the Incarnation, Atonement, and 
Resurrection of Christ. No doubt incarnation myths and immortality 
myths have been common enough in a variety of religions and 
theologies, and Krishna or Adonis may frequently have been 
accepted as historical figures. What many Christian theologians 
maintain, however, is that* Christ's Incarnation was necessarily 
unique, and that the record of this unique piece of history is the 
ultimate warrant of all Christian theology. The Atonement was 
made once and for all. There will never be another God-man upon 
earth, and although, if other planets were inhabited, a pious con- 
jecture might be that they too should be visited by their Redeemer, 
this notion of a Wandering Saviour is repugnant to most Christians. 

H 113 



PHILOSOPHY 

Precisely in so far as the basis of Christian theology is unique and 
also historical, Christian theology must be exclusive and cannot 
honestly pretend to be anything else. 

Thus Dr. Leonard Hodgson writes (so far as I can see inevitably 
from his standpoint). "To Christian faith God is known primarily 
in His redeeming activity in Christ. But this very fact prevents us 
stopping there. If God has thus willed to enter within history and 
within it to work our salvation, that must be for believing Christians 
our clue to understanding all human history and all the evolution 
of the universe in which human history has its place. Thus inevitably 
there arises Christian philosophy, that philosophy which is the attempt 
to interpret the meaning of all things in the light of God's self- 
revelation in Christ/' 1 Again Hodgson says, "The standpoint from 
which we view the universe is that of men sharing in a way of life 
now being lived as a matter of historical fact in this actual world. 
We have been gathered into it by God, who has revealed Himself 
in a sequence of historical acts recorded in the books of the Bible 
and the history of the Christian Church. This sequence of events, 
the history of our own spiritual ancestry, through which God's 
revelation has come to us, must always have for us a special and 
unique significance. Our Christian philosophy must therefore recog- 
nize this special significance and find a reasonable way of relating 
this particular historical sequence to the rest of the events which 
go to make up the universe." 2 And yet again he writes: "Our clue to 
the understanding of the universe is our conviction that we are 
God's creatures made for a life of personal communion with Him 
and with one another. To use this conviction as a clue means to 
regard it as giving its meaning to all the content of our observation 
and experience. "3 

In short, the claim is that the record of Christ's life upon earth is 
in principle our clue to everything, to the origin (and eventual 
annihilation?) of the physical universe, to the purpose of the stars, 
to the high station of human souls in the scheme of things, to the 
centrality of spiritual things in the cosmos, to the subordination of 
all world-problems to the fundamental problem of redemption from 
sin. The question may be raised, of course, whether Jesus, in his 
recorded sayings ever did make such claims: whether he believed 
himself to be more than a Messiah and to be actually co-equal 
with God the Father whom he taught his disciples to address as our 
Father: whether he ever tried to be a metaphysician or a theologian. 
That however is not the point. The point, for those who agree with 
Dr. Hodgson, is that the record of Christ's life on earth and subsequent 
communion with his church is our only clue to theology, cosmology, 

1 Towards a Christian Philosophy, p. 25. 
* Ibid., p. 154. 3 Ibid., p. 165. 



FINALITY IN THEOLOGY 

metaphysics, and all such fundamental inquiries. There may be a 
question about the extent of the guidance afforded by the clue. 
But there is no other clue, nothing else except the bewildered guess- 
work of a natural reason unequal to such a task. 

It may be permissible to suggest that many Christians, not all of 
them modernists, regard such claims as excessive and embarrassing. 
However that may be, the implicit exclusiveness of such a view as 
Hodgson's is beyond question. Therefore the view must either be 
abandoned or be allowed to be exclusive. 

*One may, however, raise a final question. If these events in 
Palestine are our only clue to an understanding of the universe in its 
, depths and ultimate potencies, does it follow that Christians who 
accept this exclusive clue should disdain all contacts with other 
religions and theologies, having nothing to learn from them, and 
having no duty towards their adherents except the duty of converting 
them? Those of us who are appalled at such a conclusion may be 
excused for attempting to mitigate its rigours. 

The prospects are not too gloomy. The contention is that certain 
events in history do give the clue to the riddle of the world, showing 
that redemption from sin is the dominating fact in all temporal 
process, that suns and stars are insignificant in comparison with the 
spirit of man, and that the relations between man and God are 
central in all that exists. If so, the historical proof of such a theological 
ontology would be proof of a very special order. The events which 
led to the triumph at Calvary would be proof that certain meta- 
physical principles are not merely matter of surmise, as they would 
have been had there been no such events, but have to be accepted 
as fact. The difference is the difference between a speculative 
possibility, on the one hand, and undeniable actuality, on the other 
hand; but the content of the speculative possibility would be the 
same content as history revealed when the word was made flesh. 

This same content, therefore, can be examined both by those who 
regard it only as a speculative possibility and by those who accept 
it as demonstrated at Calvary and thereafter. There is no sufficient 
reason why the latter party should refuse to discuss with the former 
party, or why the former party, declining to admit that it is dealing 
with more than a speculative possibility, should on that account 
alone, be debarred from coUaborative intercourse with those who 
have been engaged for many centuries in elaborating a belief whose 
foundations are, to their minds, beyond all question. If Christian 
or any other exclusive theologies were possessed not merely of a clue, 
but of a complete doctrine with no place for adventures of ideas, 
such collaborative intercourse between rival theologians would 
have very feeble prospects. The books would be closed. No reason- 
able person, however, can suppose that the ontological and meta- 

"5 



PHILOSOPHY 

physical clues supplied by the New Testament, the Upanishads, or 
other sacred literature are anything like complete. They may be 
firm, but they permit and encourage endless although controlled 
adventure. 

Accordingly, even under this last heading, mere missionary zeal 
need not be enough. And why should Christians be the only 
missionaries? 



116 



LIFE AND PLEASURE (I) 

THE LATE H. W. B. JOSEPH 

ALL men desire their own happiness : which is not to say that they 
desire nothing else, or regulate all their actions with a view to it. 
But very many men are also puzzled and perhaps distressed by the 
fact of unhappiness, whosever it may be. For it seems evil, and evil 
is a problem, whether seen in animal pain, or in human unhappiness, 
or in wrong-doing, or in what, though not the work of man, yet 
seems unjust: as, for example, that one who does his duty should 
perish miserably. True, we should most of us say that our own interest 
has nothing to do with our duty; and the Psalmist blesses him that 
sweareth unto his neighbour and disappoint eth him not, "though it 
were to his own hindrance. 1 ' Yet almost in the same breath he 
declares that such a man shall never fall, that he shall dwell in the 
tabernacle of the Lord, and rest upon his holy hill. * Clearly he thought 
that, unless this were so, something would be very much amiss, 
though even so he might have maintained that a man ought to keep 
the promise which he has sworn to his neighbour. It has been im- 
pressively contended by Professor Prichard that there is no sense of 
"advantage" in which the question whether to keep his promise is 
advantageous to me is relevant to the question whether I ought to 
keep it, not even if I identify my own advantage with what advan- 
tages society: "our conviction that we ought to do certain actions 
does not in fact arise from our thought that our action will conduce 
to the good of society which is also our own good." 2 Yet the con- 
templation of a world in which, though men did their duty, they 
were always involved in misery by doing it, would be gravely dis- 
concerting. Kant himself could not believe such a world possible, 
though more almost than any other moralist he insisted that our 
consciousness of obligation had no connection with any thought of 
how discharging it bore upon our happiness, nor the obligation itself 
with how discharging it actually did so. Rather than admit that 
there could in the last resort be even a partial maladjustment be- 
tween virtue and happiness, he was prepared to accept what he 
claimed to have shown that the speculative reason could never 
establish, the existence of an all-powerful and all-righteous God. 

There are, no doubt, some who can find sustainment in acknow- 
ledging an evil world and defying it. "Brief and powerless is man's 
life," says Lord Russell; "on him and all his race the slow, sure doom 

* Psa. xv. a H. A. Prichard, Duty and Interest, pp. 16, 39. 

117 



PHILOSOPHY 

falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction 
omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man ... it remains 
only . . ., undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind 
free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life ; proudly 
defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his 
knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but 
unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite 
the trampling march of unconscious power/' 1 So Henley thanks 
"whatever gods there be" for his "unconquerable soul." And T. H. 
Huxley declared that, if scientific thinking revealed the unreality of 
moral distinctions, it was the duty of a man of science to publish the 
fact. 

We might ask why the unreality of moral distinctions would not 
destroy that duty too. And if, instead of merely deriding his incon- 
sequence, we admire Huxley for exhorting us to tell the truth and 
shame the devil, it is perhaps because we feel that men's obstinate 
dissatisfaction with evil does not proceed merely from emotion, but is 
itself a mark of intelligence. The problem of evil has certainly exer- 
cised thinkers who have discussed it with less emotional fervour 
than have those just quoted. The celebrated Abbe Bayle and the 
more celebrated Leibniz are among these. Man, said Bayle, is wicked 
and miserable ; everywhere you will find prisons and hospitals ; and 
added, in an often quoted sentence, that history is but the record of 
the crimes and misfortunes of mankind. Leibniz replied that this was 
exaggeration; there is incomparably more of good than of evil in the 
lives of men, just as there are incomparably more houses than 
prisons; although, in respect of moral good and evil, virtue and vice, 
we find for the most part mediocrity, and few men either very 
virtuous or very wicked. The chief aim of history, like that of poetry, 
should be to teach wisdom and virtue by examples, and the next so 
to exhibit vice as will produce aversion to it and lead or help us to 
avoid it. 2 Those who connect with the name of Leibniz the doctrine 
that this is the best of all possible worlds might expect a more whole- 
hearted rejection of Bayle's allegations. But we must remember that 
by this doctrine he did not mean that there was no pain or moral 
evil in the world, but that no other world which an all-wise, all- 
powerful and benevolent God could have created would have con- 
tained so little. The risk of moral evil he, like many others, thought 
inseparable from human freedom. I am not concerned with the 
defence which in his Theodicee he offered of his general optimism, 
drawing upon metaphysical doctrines that he developed elsewhere. 
In some respects it may deserve the reproach of facile. But it would 
not, I think, be fair to say that he was reduced to optimism by 

1 Philosophical Essays, p. 20, in A Free Man's Worship. 
* TheodicJe, 148. 

118 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

inability to face disagreeable truths. Doubtless men's desire for 
happiness often inclines them too readily to comforting beliefs about 
the world in matters beyond present ascertainment, and against this 
tendency the Stoic protest of Lord Russell or W. L. Henley proceeds 
from motives that deserve respect. But to recognize a problem in 
evil is not the same as to dislike what evilly affects oneself. Those 
whom it disturbs should indeed be on their guard against over- 
rating arguments advanced to resolve it. To ascribe their efforts, 
however, merely to their desire for happiness, and what is called 
optimism to that readiness to accept comforting beliefs which this 
desire may produce, is perhaps to mistake for the object of a desire 
the pleasure to which one may look forward from attaining that 
object. 

A desire, then, to find a solution to the puzzle of evil, an interest 
in the issue between the so-called optimistic and pessimistic inter- 
pretations of the world, is neither a form of self-interest nor of 
sympathetic interest in the welfare of others. It is a speculative 
interest in understanding the world in which we find ourselves. 
Whether the discussion of the problem belongs especially to that 
branch of speculation called ethics is difficult to say. Every ethical 
system must include propositions accepted on the ground that by 
thinking or reflection we know them to be true. That we have duties, 
that there really is a distinction between good and evil, are such 
propositions. And if the world presents problems not merely un- 
solved, but insoluble, if it is unintelligible, not merely not under- 
stood, we may lose trust in our intelligence; for we belong to the 
world. Ethical speculation therefore cannot be indifferent to the 
problem of evil. But for the same reason neither can any other 
branch of speculation; for every branch includes propositions ac- 
cepted on the ground that by thinking or reflection we know them to 
be true. Yet the student of mathematics does not abandon his 
studies because the problems remain unsolved; neither should the 
student of ethics. 

I am not proposing to offer any contribution towards its solution. 
But there is a school of ethics which, relying upon a view of good and 
evil which I believe to be false, viz. that life is good if it brings a 
surplus of agreeable feeling, thinks that modern science, in the 
theory of biological evolution, has upon this view shown that life is 
good; for it has shown that life-preserving activities must upon the 
whole be pleasant. I believe that for all that biology can show to the 
contrary, the continuance of life might depend on processes as 
painful as you please; and my purpose is to argue that no solution 
lies in that quarter. 

The view of good and evil to which I have referred, the belief that 
on this view biology can show life to be good, and by implication 

119 



PHILOSOPHY 

that it can contribute to the solution of the problem of evil, were all 
held by Herbert Spencer. "The good," he says, "is universally the 
pleasurable"; things are good and bad "which immediately produce 
agreeable and disagreeable sensations"; an agent is good or bad, 
whether inanimate like a good shop, or animate like a good teacher, 
"which conduces immediately or remotely to an enjoyable state." 
All those who do not barbarously believe that it is the duty of men 
"to continue living in misery for the delight of theirmaker" "avowedly 
or tacitly hold that the final justification for maintaining life, can 
only be the reception from it of a surplus of pleasurable over painfui 
feeling; and that goodness or badness can be ascribed to acts which 
subserve or hinder life, only upon this supposition." 1 Pessimists and 
optimists alike agree, "both their arguments assume it to be self- 
evident, that life is good or bad, according as it does or does not 
bring a surplus of agreeable feeling. On this issue therefore "depends 
entirely every decision concerning the goodness or badness of con- 
duct"; if pain predominates in life, "actions which further its con- 
tinuance, either in self or others, must be reprobated"; so that 
"before entering on any ethical, discussion" this question must be 
"definitely raised and answered." 2 But it can be answered by biology; 
the course of evolution necessarily brings about adjustments in virtue 
of which the preponderance of pleasure is secure. If it were not so, 
evolution would have been a mistake; 2 Spencer does not tell us 
whose. But since it is so, the Evolution Hypothesis harmonizes with 
the leading moral ideas which men have reached. For the most 
highly evolved conduct is that best adapted to further life; life is 
furthered by actions conducing to the welfare of the organism, 
hindered by those injurious to it; with the former are correlated 
pleasures, with the latter pains; therefore the course of evolution, 
which consists in the actions of organisms becoming progressively 
more adapted to further their life, consists also in their actions be- 
coming progressively more adapted to produce pleasure, with less 
pain. And since men count that conduct good which aims to produce 
a. surplus of agreeable feeling, the course of evolution is towards that 
to which a moral man would direct his actions; and a man has only 
to guide himself by the teachings of evolution, acting so as to co- 
operate with and not to thwart it, to be sure that he is doing right. 3 
I do not know what language Leibniz would have used about the 
postulate in which Spencer says that pessimists and optimists agree, 
that life is good or bad according as it does or does not bring a 
surplus of agreeable feeling. For thin partitions, surely, divide the 
bounds of these alternatives. It is like Mr. Micawber's distinction 
between happiness and misery: "Annual income twenty pounds, 

Data of Ethics, ch. Ill, 10. Ibid., 9. 

3 Ibid., ch. Ill, 15: cf. chs. I and II. 

120 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

annual expenditure, nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual 
income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought six, 
result misery." Indeed, Mr. Micawber's position was the more 
reasonable of the two. He did not think that happiness was so many 
pence, but that it depended on the difference between pence owing 
and pence owned; and the greatness of the difference between happi- 
ness and misery need not be proportionate to the amount by which 
a debit can be converted into a credit balance. But that wherein the 
optimist's and the pessimist's worlds are here conceived as differing 
so* that on the issue "depends entirely every decision concerning the 
goodness and badness of conduct" consists in, not depends upon, 
the ratio between the elements of good and evil, the pleasures and 
the pains, in them; and if the ratios are nearly the same, though the 
excess falls now on this side and now on that, the worlds, so far as 
these elements are concerned, will differ very little; yet "every 
decision concerning the goodness and badness of conduct" will be 
reversed accordingly. Surely the difference which should justify such 
a reversal, and decide the issue between optimism and pessimism, 
should be more profound; it can hardly be so purely a question of 
quantity of pleasure. 

We may ask, too, how the computation is to be made, which is to 
establish a balance of pleasurable over painful feeling, or vice versa. 
Are we to grade pleasurable and painful feelings in respect of inten- 
sity, to set up a one-one correspondence of grades in our two tables, 
to count up for each intensity of either table the "feeler-hours," and 
say that so many "feeler-hours" of pleasure in grade x cancel that 
number of painful "feeler-hours" in the corresponding grade, and 
both must disappear from the account? Even then, it might be 
found, after all such cancelling, that there was an uncancelled balance 
of pleasurable "feeler-hours" in one grade and of painful in another. 
How are we now to determine what lesser number of more intensely 
painful "feeler-hours" cancels what greater number of less intensely 
pleasurable? And do not those who talk of a balance of pleasure over 
pain or vice versa forget that in the scales of a balance you must 
place things not contrary but homogeneous. If some bodies, as 
Aristotle thought, were naturally heavy, and tended to the centre of 
the world, others naturally light, and tended to the circumference, 
you could not weigh them against each other, and strike a balance of 
light over heavy or heavy otfer light. And supposing there were a 
way of determining that your life or mine was more pleasant than 
painful, or more painful than pleasant, what precise sense is there in 
the notion of integrating the results established for every several life 
into a single result for all who feel? 

These, however, are not the questions which I wish to press. Let 
us assume, in spite of all the pain, sickness and sorrow that there are 

121 



PHILOSOPHY 

in the world, that the statement that to nearly all sentient creatures 
their lives bring a balance of pleasure over pain is both capable of a 
sound intespretation and true. I maintain that, even if the facts be 
so, they are in no way biologically necessary. 

No doubt it is largely true, though by no means universally, that 
"pains are correlatives of actions injurious to the organism, while 
pleasures are the correlatives of actions conducive to its welfare." 1 
But that "it is an inevitable deduction from the hypothesis of Evolu- 
tion, that races of sentient creatures could have come into existence 
under no other conditions" is not true at all. This, however, is what 
Spencer supposes. His argument for such a highly satisfactory con- 
clusion was first set out in the Principles of Psychology, 2 and is 
repeated in the Data of Ethicsl It was as follows: 

"If we substitute for the word Pleasure the equivalent phrase a 
feeling which we seek to bring into consciousness and retain there, 
and if we substitute for the word Pain the equivalent phrase a 
feeling which we seek to get out of consciousness and to keep out; 
we see at once that, if the states of consciousness which a creature 
endeavours to maintain are the correlatives of injurious actions, and 
if the states which it endeavours to expel are the correlatives of 
beneficial actions, it must quickly disappear through persistence in 
the injurious and avoidance of the beneficial. In other words, those 
races of beings only can have survived, in which, on the average, 
agreeable or desired feelings went along with activities conducive to 
the maintenance of life, while disagreeable and habitually-avoided 
feelings went along with activities directly or indirectly destructive 
of life; and there must ever have been, other things equal, the most 
numerous and long-continued survivals among races in which these 
adjustments of feelings to actions were the best, tending ever to 
bring about perfect adjustment." 

Now this argument turns upon certain highly questionable 
assumptions, one explicitly made, the others perhaps unnoticed, 
(i) It is explicitly assumed that we denote the same feelings by 
calling them pleasant, and by saying that we seek to bring them into 
consciousness and retain them there; by calling them painful, and 
by saying that we seek to get and keep them out of consciousness. 
And only on this assumption does the argument advance. For what 
Spencer wishes to prove is that, if in any creature pleasant states 
of consciousness were the correlatives of injurious actions and 
painful of beneficial, it must quickly disappear: not that it must do 
so if it sought to maintain what was injurious and avoid what was 
beneficial; that is obvious, unless its endeavours make no difference 
to what it does. The identification therefore of what it endeavours 
to maintain or to expel with what is pleasant or painful is vital to 

1 Data of Ethics, ch. VI, 33. 124. 

122 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

the argument. (2) It is assumed, perhaps without noticing that a 
questionable assumption is being made, that if we seek to maintain 
pleasure in consciousness or to get pain out, we also seek to bring 
in pleasure and to keep out pain. This is probably because Spencer, 
like a good many others, did not realize that the pleasures or pains 
which we may desire or fear cannot have the same relation to the 
actions by which they are to be obtained or avoided as those which 
we are feeling may have to the actions by which they are to be 
maintained or expelled. For those which we are feeling exist; but 
those which we only desire or fear do not. (3) Whereas the conclusion 
required is that those races of beings only can have survived in 
which, on the average, agreeable and disagreeable feelings have gone 
along respectively with activities conducive to the maintenance of 
life and directly or indirectly destructive of it, the statement of the 
conclusion speaks of "agreeable or desired," of "disagreeable and 
"habitually-avoided 1 ' feelings. This is only relevant on the assump- 
tion that activities which a creature finds disagreeable it will com- 
monly be able to avoid, those which it finds agreeable it will not only 
desire but commonly be able to exercise. The assumption is reason- 
able enough if the word "activity 11 or "action" (for Spencer draws no 
distinction) is used in its ordinary sense for something in our power. 
But Spencer uses the words also in the biological sense in which we 
speak of the action of the heart or of the kidneys; and when the 
whirling movements of the cilia of a rotifer, whereby food is sucked 
in, are called actions, 1 it is quite obscure in which sense the word is 
meant. Action therefore includes what may be unalterable by our 
efforts, as inevitable as growing old; and though it is necessary to 
survival that such actions should be beneficial and not injurious 
(which means only that they should make for and not against sur- 
vival), it is by no means necessary that they should be agreeable. 
Our efforts might not be directed towards actions necessary for 
survival, unless the feelings we desire, to wit agreeable feelings, were 
correlated with those actions; but if our efforts make no difference 
to our actions, that is profoundly unimportant ; and in the biological 
sense of the word "action" they often do not. Growing pains do not 
prevent our growing, for a man by trying could no more stop growing 
than he can add a cubit to his stature. And it should be obvious that 
if, when speaking of the necessity for actions to be conducive to the 
maintenance of life and not destructive of it, we understand the 
word only in its biological sense, there is no reason why life should 
be pleasant, nor why it should not be a protracted agony, so far as 
the influence of pain and pleasure on actions is concerned. 

It might, however, be supposed that a reason can be found in the 

1 Data of Ethics, ch. II, 4. Both words, action and activity, are used in 
this section. 

123 



PHILOSOPHY 

nature of the conditions which produce pain and pleasure ; but this is 
not so. For either these conditions are physiological; and then, for 
all that we can understand, the conditions giving rise to pleasure 
might just as well give rise to pain, and vice versa; or they are 
psychological, and then we shall find that they do not involve the 
necessity for life to be preponderantly pleasant. If we consider one 
or two theories that have been advanced regarding the conditions of 
pleasure and pain, this should become clear. 

One class of theory that has met with much acceptance connects 
pleasure with the passage to completion of some physical or psychical 
process, or the unhindered exercise of some physical or psychical 
power: pain with the thwarting of the process, or with hindrance to 
the exercise of the power. Plato and Aristotle put forward theories 
of this sort. Professor Stout in his Analytic Psychology, following 
Avenarius, connects pleasure and pain respectively with the uninter- 
rupted and interrupted course of a process, called a "vital series," 
"intervening between the initial disturbance and restored stability" 
of neural arrangements. "What in its psychical aspect we call the 
direction of mental activity towards an end, is," we are told, "on the 
physiological side, the tendency of disturbed neural arrangements 
towards equilibrium. ... In so far as the neural disturbance simply 
serves to initiate and support the process of recovery in modes pre- 
determined by the nervous organization, there is concomitant 
pleasure. On the other hand, any kind of hitch or hindrance in the 
process is unpleasant. This physiological formula is primarily based 
on the evidence supplied by those pleasant and painful processes 
which are open to psychological analysis. . . . The assumption is, that 
where psychological analysis fails, there is a fundamental analogy in 
the neural process concerned." 1 

Much might be said of the inadequacy of such general formulae 
about the conditions of pleasure and pain. Thus it is not the same 
that pleasure should depend on the passage of a process to com- 
pletion, and on the unhindered exercise of a power; for on the first 
alternative, as Hobbes put it, "there is no contentment but in pro- 
ceeding" 2 ; to have attained is to have passed beyond pleasure; on 
the second, the continuance of an activity would afford pleasure, 
even though the activity is not a process towards completion, and 
no power is being exercised more perfectly at one time than at 
another. 3 Again, besides the thwarting of a process towards com- 
pletion, or hindering the exercise of a power, we may suppose the 
reversal of the process, or mere cessation of the exercise of a power. 

* Analytic Psychology, Vol. II, p. 287: Bk. II, xii, 4. 

* Leviathan. 

3 Aristotle adopted the second alternative, as against Plato, who had 
adopted the first. 

124 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

Should we assume that these also are conditions of pain? Plato, who 
called pleasure a process of filling, TrA^poxn?, called pain one of 
emptying, K&OHJIS. We may accept Aristotle's criticism, that pain 
and pleasure cannot be these processes, but at most depend on them. 
It will still remain to point out that obstructing a process and 
reversing it, obstructing or filling and emptying are not the same; 
and to be inactive is not to suffer hindrance in the exercise of a 
power. 

There are two kinds of occasion where pleasure and pain arise 
which commend this sort of formula about their conditions; in one 
the conditions are apparently psychical, in the other physical. 
Pleasures attend the satisfaction of hunger and thirst, and pains 
arise after a certain point from the using up of bodily tissue; it is 
these which suggested the metaphor of filling and emptying. Again, 
pleasures attend successful effort, and pains failure to carry an effort 
to completion; though it is to be noted that obstruction which does 
not prevent success, but only provokes to heightened effort, may 
accentuate pleasure. In both kinds of case, we might describe the 
conditions of pleasure as the passage of a process to completion, or 
the exercise of a power; but the thwarting of a process to com- 
pletion or the hindrance to the exercise of a power is a description 
which seems more appropriate to the psychical conditions of our 
pain in the second kind of case than to the physical conditions of it 
in the first. Further, there is this important difference between the 
two kinds of case, that the pleasures and pains of successful and 
unsuccessful effort require consciousness of the psychical conditions 
on which they apparently depend, but the pleasures of eating and 
drinking, or pains of hunger and thirst, do not require that we 
should know anything about their physical conditions of bodily 
restoration or wastage. 

This difference is important for the following reason. It might be 
said that to feel pleasure in the consciousness of succeeding in one's 
efforts, pain in the consciousness that one is failing, is no mere 
empirical fact. Pleasure and pain are perhaps not the best words to 
use here; satisfaction or contentment, dissatisfaction or discontent, 
might be better; for the words pleasure and pain are used of sensible 
states with which we need by no means always be respectively satis- 
fied or dissatisfied. But that to succeed or fail in the prosecution of a 
purpose should not pro tanto satisfy or dissatisfy may seem absurd. 
On the other hand, that the bodily restoration or wastage which 
physiologically condition the pleasures of eating and drinking on 
pains of hunger and thirst should not produce these feelings is in no 
way absurd, but merely contrary to fact. 

Having noticed this important difference between the two kinds of 
case which commend this sort of formula about the conditions of 

125 



PHILOSOPHY 

pleasure and pain, we may next observe that many occasions of 
pleasure and pain lend it no support. Among physical pleasures and 
pains (i.e. such are initiated by bodily changes or stimuli of which 
there is no need for us to be conscious; though, as Aristotle observed, 
the pleasures and pains themselves are never physical, being felt not 
by the body but by the soul), 1 besides those for which we can verify 
some bodily process of reparation or wastage, there are others whose 
physical conditions are not apparently a passage to completion or a 
thwarting of such passage. Even severance and destruction of tissue, 
in connection with which pain commonly arises, and ^which may 
interrupt some vital process or activity, are not themselves the con- 
ditions of the pain ; for under anaesthetics, general or local, they may 
occur without pain. The pain depends on certain nerves which are 
put out of action by the anaesthetic; and it seems a violent hypo- 
thesis that when they are giving rise to pain some process in them is 
being hindered or thwarted. Again, if severance or destruction of 
tissue caused pain because it interrupted or hindered a pre-existing 
vital process or activity, it should also interrupt a previous pleasure ; 
whereas generally the previous state has been more or less neutral in 
respect of feeling. There are certain very important rhythmic 
processes in the body, of pulse and breathing, which more almost 
than any other can be said to have each a beginning, middle and end, 
and so be each a distinct identifiable process of whose course one 
may say whether it has or has not proceeded unhindered to com- 
pletion; and the interruption of these is often highly painful. But 
their unhindered course is not highly pleasant; any pleasure that 
may accompany it is barely noticed. And if we turn to pleasures and 
pains which, because they depend on our being first conscious of 
something other than themselves, we should call psychical and not 
physical, we by no means always find that that, or the consciousness 
on which they depend, is the success or unsuccess of our endeavours. 
We need have been making no attempt to get what it pleases us to 
become possessed of; gifts please, though not won as prizes. And 
pain is felt in losing what we have neither been struggling to keep 
nor perhaps ever made in the first instance any effort to acquire, 
e.g. one's parents. Nor need there have been any conscious desire 
for, as distinct from effort after, what it gives us pleasure to become 
possessed of; we may take pleasure in learning of an event which we 
had not been wanting to happen. 

It might be suggested that in such cases an unconscious desire is 
gratified. Possibly; but desire is not a process of action which may 
be carried through or thwarted, for we may feel desires which we 
make no endeavour to gratify. May there not, however, where there 
is no overt action, be physiological concomitants of desire, "small 

' Eth. NIC. X, iii, 6, 11736, 7-11. 
126 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

beginnings of motion within the body of man," as Hobbes put it, 1 
and this perhaps yet more merely incipient when the desire is un- 
conscious? If so the pleasure of successful endeavour might be 
regarded as arising from the continuance of these beginnings to 
completion; but it is hard to see how to learn of an event which we 
had unconsciously desired would involve any such continuance. It is 
doubtful also if Professor Stout's statement that "where psycho- 
logical analysis fails, there is a fundamental analogy in the neural 
process concerned 11 will bear examination. "In baffled desire," it 
continues, "the process of return to equilibrium is in some way 
thwarted. In this case the neural process has a psychical counterpart 
which can be defined with reference to its commencement and to the 
end which it seeks. In the pain of tooth-ache, such psychological 
definition of the thwarted conation is not possible; but it remains 
permissible and even necessary to assume a failure to recover nervous 
equilibrium, owing to positive or negative conditions." Now if in 
baffled desire, or other cases where psychological analysis reveals a 
failure of conscious effort, a neural process in which there is failure 
to recover equilibrium were independently ascertained, we might 
perhaps venture to suppose that pains for which psychological 
analysis fails to reveal anything arise in connection with a failure to 
recover neural equilibrium similar to what was found corresponding 
with a failure of conscious effort. But first to infer the neural process 
from its so-called psychical counterpart in cases where psychological 
analysis discovers the latter, and then to infer a similar neural process 
in cases where it does not, seems neither permissible nor necessary, 
unless we say that it is necessary to the theory which is to be estab- 
lished; and that is to say that the theory on its physiological side 
has nothing to rest on except the assumption that the facts agree 
with it. Unfortunately the case is even worse than this. There are 
indeed, as we noticed, some rhythmic processes in the body, each of 
which might be held to constitute one "vital series"; and there are 
some stable conditions to which, if disturbed, the part concerned 
tends to return. But, if I am correctly informed, the continuous 
metabolisms of the body as a whole is not analysable into "vital 
series" of the kind required. It is these whose uninterrupted or 
interrupted course was to be the condition respectively of pleasure 
and pain. If they are not there, there is no course to be interrupted. 
We may ask also what common features are referred to, when an 
analogy is alleged between a purposive and a neural process. Of 
course both take time, and any finite duration has a beginning and 
an end. But this does not make of the process occupying time a 
unity. For if so, since the duration can be divided into parts each 
with a beginning and an end, the parts of the process would each be 

1 Leviathan, ch. 6. 

127 



PHILOSOPHY 

equally a unity. In psychological analysis we find distinct purposes 
holding together as unities the several parts into which the whole 
process of conscious life is divisible. But this cannot be done for the 
neural process. We may indeed as biologists reflect that the con- 
tinuance of a species depends on individuals living until maturity 
and leaving offspring; and so we may speak of each individual life as 
a process completed if it continues till reproduction, and unified by 
that achievement, thwarted if brought earlier to an end. Even so the 
language of purpose is no more than metaphorical. But it is not in 
the completion or thwarting of that process as a whole that the 
neural conditions of pleasure and pain are to be looked for; and we 
cannot divide the whole process into parts such that biological 
reasons can be found for saying of every part, whether it has pro- 
ceeded to completion or been thwarted. In the part there is mostly 
no such culmination, such as reproduction is for the whole, the 
reaching of which can be called the completion of the process. An 
argument from analogy therefore seems not only lacking; it would 
be unjustified if it were really used. To say that "where psychological 
analysis fails, there is a fundamental analogy in the neural process 
concerned" should mean that the neural process always exhibits a 
character only sometimes found in some corresponding psychical 
process ; but the neural process seems to be inferred to be present in 
every case because the psychical is found to be present in only some, 
and we have now seen that, even if these cases be a neural process, 
it is really not of the same kind. 



128 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

W. D. FALK, M.A. 

BUTLER observes in the Preface to the Sermons that the subject of 
morals can be approached in two different ways: "One begins from 
erfquiring into the abstract relations of things: the other from a 
matter of fact, namely what the particular nature of man is, its 
several parts, their economy or constitution; from whence it proceeds 
to determine what course of life it is, which is correspondent to his 
whole nature. In the former method the conclusion is expressed 
thus, that vice is contrary to the nature and reason of things : in the 
latter, that it is a violation or breaking in upon our own nature. 
Thus they both lead us to the same thing, our obligations to the 
practice of virtue ; and thus they exceedingly strengthen and enforce 
each other." 1 In making this observation Butler raises the problem 
of the nature of moral obligation, and of the criteria by which the 
existence of a moral obligation can be known. He does so by calling 
attention to the divisions of opinion which existed on this issue 
in his own days. Samuel Clarke, the fashionable moralist of the 
period, sought the roots of moral obligation in the "nature and 
reason of things": for an agent to know that an act is his duty is 
to know that it is fitting or suitable to the circumstances in which it 
occurs. Shaft esbury, on the other hand, and many of the adherents 
to the doctrine of Natural Law, like Grotius and Pufendorf, sought 
the roots of moral obligation in the nature of agents: for an agent, 
to know that an act is his duty is for him to experience a special 
motive to do it. Butler recognized the fundamental difference between 
these two approaches. His own sympathies were with the second. 
Man is a moral agent because he is capable of experiencing a motive 
for action of a special authoritative quality ; he acts immorally when 
he disregards and violates this impulse essential to his own nature. 
"Your obligation to obey this law is its being the law of your own 
nature. That your conscience approves and attests to such a course 
of action is itself alone an obligation." 2 At the same time, Butler 
was conciliatory towards Clarke and his school. We can come to 
know that we have a duty in the one or the other way, either when 
we realize that an act would, when done, be of a certain kind, or 
when we realize that our nature demands it of us. "The first seems 
the more direct formal proof, and in some respects the least liable 
to cavil and dispute: the latter is in a peculiar manner adapted to 
1 Joseph Butler, Sermons, ed. by Gladstone, 6. " Ibid., 71. 

I 129 



PHILOSOPHY 

satisfy a fair mind: and is more easily applicable to the several 
particular relations and circumstances in life/' 1 

Modern moralists also are aware of this distinction, but unlike 
Butler they do not regard both approaches as equally possible. 
The problem of the Foundations of Ethics, Sir David Ross writes, 
is to examine "whether what we may broadly call the objective, or 
what may be called the subjective view of obligation and values is 
the true one whether they are rooted in the nature of things or 
are names expressive merely of human preferences, emotions or 
opinions/' 2 Many modern moralists agree that this issue must be 
decided in favour of Clarke, this "not sufficiently regarded philo- 
sopher,"3 and against Butler and the ancient tradition which he 
represents and develops. For, although Butler's views on obligation 
can hardly be described as "subjective" in the sense that he makes 
"mere preferences, emotions or opinions" constitutive of obligation, 
yet his doctrine must be classified as a kind of "subjective" or 
"attitude theory." Butler implied that an agent has a moral 
obligation when and because he is in some special manner prompted 
to act ; and this amounts to saying that he is morally obliged when 
and because he is in a certain state of mind about an action open 
to him. What constitutes a moral obligation is a fact not external, 
but internal to an agent. All theories of this kind are generally 
repudiated to-day. It is thought that past attempts to elucidate 
the meaning of obligation have failed because it has been assumed 
that to have a duty is a state of affairs dependent on some state 
of the agent's mind. The modern view is the reverse. Acts are 
obligations, not because agents are in some manner prompted to 
do them, but in virtue of a characteristic which they possess what- 
ever the agent's attitude or feelings. 

I shall be concerned in this paper with the examination of this 
view in the form which Sir David Ross has given to it in the Founda- 
tions. He rejects it in its utilitarian form. The characteristic that 
constitutes the duty to do an action cannot be its goodness ; it is its 
tightness or fittingness in relation to a situation. My object in this 
paper is to show that this view is no more acceptable than the one 
to which it is opposed. To say that an act is a duty is to say that 
an agent has a duty to do it; and this, I think, is to say neither 
that an act is good nor that it is right or fitting in relation to a situa- 
tion. Hence, I shall argue, that the substitution of "rightness" or 
"fittingness" for "goodness" is not a substantial improvement on 
the utilitarian analysis of obligation, and, moreover, that the failure 
is due to the defects which all forms of what might be called the 
"external fact" analysis of obligation have in common. 
' Joseph Butler, Sermons, ed. by Gladstone, 6. 
Foundations of Ethics, 327. 3 Ibid., 52. 

130 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

Before I examine Sir David Ross's views one initial difficulty must 
be noted. It is that any analysis of obligation must take account 
of the fact that this term is used in different contexts. We speak 
not only of agents ' 'having obligations," but also of acts "being 
obligations" or "being obligatory," and of the thought of acts 
"creating obligations." Hence, no analysis of obligation is complete 
which, while it apparently succeeds in defining the use of the term 
in one context fails to give it a corresponding meaning in the others. 
However, Sir David Ross devotes the greater part of his analysis 
t(J only one of the contexts in which the term is used. He discusses 
at length what it is to be an obligation or to be obligatory, but such 
an important expression as having an obligation finds no more than 
passing reference. I shall, therefore, first examine his views on the 
obligatoriness of actions, and only subsequently consider what views 
on the obligedness of agents are implied by them. 

Now, according to Sir David Ross, when we say an act is obligatory 
we are saying the same or "very hearly the same" as when we say 
it is right. What differences there are he regards as "not very impor- 
tant."! He speaks throughout of acts as "right or obligatory," freely 
substituting one term for the other in the same argument. I shall 
deal briefly with his analysis of Tightness in what he considers the 
moral use of the term. When we say that an act is right we can ask: 
right for what? In relation to what then are acts morally right? 
Moral Tightness is not Tightness for the attainment of ends, whether 
they be the agent's own ends or the ends of others affected by his 
actions and omissions. Such Tightness is merely "utilitarian suita- 
bility." Moral Tightness, on the other hand, consists in some special 
fittingness or suitability of the act to the situation in which it occurs, 
that is in the capability of the act, if joined to a situation, to make 
it whole or complete in a manner not further definable, but analogous 
to the capability of one feature in a painting to contribute, together 
with others, to the making of an aesthetic whole. It is unnecessary 
for our purpose to enter further into this view, though not everybody 
may think it plain that there really is a special fittingness of acts 
to situations which is not fittingness to the ends or expectations of 
sentient beings in this situation. It is sufficient to note that, for Sir 
David Ross, moral Tightness is some property belonging to acts in 
relation to a situation', and our problem is whether obligatoriness can 
be identified with a property of this kind. 

In equating obligatoriness and moral Tightness Sir David Ross 
can draw support from common speech. People do use the expressions 
"y is a duty" and "y is right" indiscriminately, and popular dis- 
cussions are more often about what acts are right than about what 
acts are duties. But this is not to say that popular usage always 
1 Foundations of Ethics, pp. 43, 44. 



PHILOSOPHY 

identifies obligatoriness with moral rightness, and moral lightness 
with fittingness to situations. What people often mean by calling 
an act morally right is not that it is fitting to a situation, but simply 
that it is conformable to a prior moral law or duty. They call it morally 
right, because it is right in relation to what they ought to do. On 
this view, the moral rightness of acts depends on their prior obli- 
gatoriness, and hence cannot be identical with it; nor on this view 
can moral rightness be ipso facto identical with the fittingness of 
acts to situations, for, whether fitting acts are morally right, would 
depend on whether they are also obligatory. 

I do not deny, however, that sometimes the expressions "obli- 
gatory/' "morally right/' and "suitable to a situation" are used 
synonymously. It is not uncommonly implied in conversation that 
the obligatoriness of an act, say of subscribing to war-loan, consists 
in its suitability to the condition of a country at war. The "obli- 
gatory" is here taken to be the same as the "suitable" or "right 
thing to do." There is no need to dispute the fact of this usage, but 
it does not follow that reflection can sanction it; that is, that the 
obligatoriness of acts can consistently be identified with their fitting- 
ness to situations. It may be that people who use words in this way 
do so merely because they have come to take it for granted that 
"suitability" is the sole ground of their duties. 

But common usage apart, it is surprising that Sir David Ross 
should identify obligatoriness with fittingness to situations: for he 
also accepts Professor Prichard's view that, strictly speaking, the 
expression "an act is obligatory" is an illegitimate one, 1 a view 
which implies that "an act is obligatory" and "an act is fitting to a 
situation" cannot mean the same. 

We are all familiar with Professor Prichard's argument. A charac- 
teristic, he says, can only be attributed to a thing that exists; and 
while it makes sense to attribute Tightness to an act when it occurs 
or if it occurred, it is senseless to attribute obligatoriness to acts on 
these conditions. For acts could only be obligatory prior to their 
occurrence, and whether they in fact occur or not. It follows that 
obligatoriness cannot be attributed to acts at all. All that we can 
do is to attribute to agents the characteristic of "having an 
obligation/' 2 

Now, Sir David Ross, as we have said, accepts this argument, 
but he accepts it without mentioning that it applies only to obli- 
gatoriness and not to rightness. There is in fact no difficulty in saying 
that an act is right or fitting when it occurs, or would be so if it did. 
Only obligatoriness, not rightness, cannot enter into the description 
of an accomplished act. Here then we have a serious objection to 
regarding obligatoriness and rightness as the same, or "very nearly 

* Foundations of Ethics, 56. a Duty and Ignorance of Fact, pp. 26-27. 
132 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

the same." If these two terms really are interchangeable and the 
one can be used to qualify acts, the other must allow of the same 
usage ; but if there are logical difficulties in applying the one term 
to acts where there are none in applying the other it follows that 
the two terms have different meanings. 

A closer study of the point raised by Professor Prichard will show 
why obligatoriness must have a different signification from Tightness. 
The term obligatory, as commonly used, conceals a double meaning. 
According to the Oxford Dictionary, it means either that which 
"imposes" or "creates" an obligation or that which "constitutes" 
an obligation, or "must be done/' Let us call the power of imposing 
obligations obligingness, the property of being that which must be 
done obligatoriness. It will then be plain that there are difficulties 
in applying either term to acts. 

Language itself will not allow us to speak of "obliging acts." 
Plainly, an act cannot impose an obligation, for, before its occurrence 
it is not there to oblige, and, when it occurs it can oblige no longer. 
It does not follow, however, that obligatory in this sense has no 
application. Acts, it is true, cannot impose obligations, but the 
thought of acts if entertained by an agent can. For the thought of 
an act can exist whether the act of which it is the thought will ever 
exist or not, and we can attribute the power to "impose an obli- 
gation" to the idea or conception of an act when present to an 
agent's mind even if we cannot attribute it to the act itself. It follows 
that obligingness and Tightness are different characteristics. The first 
qualifies only the idea of an act of an already given description, 
while the second enters into the description of the act itself. Both 
are relational characteristics, but they hold between different terms: 
the one between the idea of an act and an agent, the other between 
an accomplished act and its environment. Hence, to know that the 
thought of an act is obliging is distinct from knowing that an act of 
the kind thought of would also be right. For if we think that an act 
would harmonize with a situation when it was done our thinking 
so does not depend on whether we also think that the idea of it is 
obliging for agents before it is done ; and even if it so happened that 
the thought of none but right acts were obliging, their Tightness 
could be no more than a ground of the obligingness of the thought 
of them: it could not be constitutive of it. Thus no proposition about 
Tightness or fittingness is equivalent to a proposition about obliging- 
ness; and no analysis of the meaning of the one term offers ipso facto 
a clue to the meaning of the other. 

We come now to the second meaning of obligatory, that by which 
we describe ought-to-be-doneness as opposed to obligingness. The diffi- 
culties of attributing this characteristic to acts are similar though 

133 



PHILOSOPHY 

not quite the same. It is evident that an act cannot be said to impose 
a duty, but it is perhaps less plain why we should not say that it is 
a duty. And yet Professor Prichard argues convincingly that "being 
a duty" cannot be the attribute of an act, for the act, if or when it 
is done, would no longer be obligatory, and, before it is done, there 
is no act of which obligatoriness could be predicated. Nor can we 
attribute obligatoriness in this sense to the thought of an act, for 
plainly we do not think that what ought to be done is the thought 
of an act, but an act. The difficulty in this case is due to the fact that 
the verbal likeness between "y is right" and "y is obligatory" coA- 
ceals a logical difference. When we say that charitable actions are 
right we attribute to them a characteristic which belongs to them 
whenever they come into existence. But when we say that they are 
duties we refer to a state of affairs which preceeds their occurrence, 
and which concerns some relation between agents and the bringing 
into being of such actions. To say "y is obligatory" is not to add 
anything to the description of y when accomplished: it is to assert 
that an act of a given description is what an agent is obliged to do. 
Hence, though we can say "y is obligatory," this is not properly 
an assertion about the act y, but about the agent who has a duty 
to do y. The state of affairs which we describe is no different whether 
we say "y is what X ought to do," or "X ought to do y," and the 
latter expression is the correct one. In either case the subject of 
predication is X, who exists here and now, and it is of him that it is 
asserted that he ought to do y. We may of course substitute "y is 
what X ought to do" for "X ought to do y," but in making this 
substitution we reverse only the order of words, not the order between 
subject and predicate. We are still thinking of a state of affairs where 
an agent X has a duty to do an act y, and we are merely stressing 
the object of his duty by saying that y is what he ought to do: we 
are not attributing "being a duty" to a non-existing act y. In the 
same manner, we may for the sake of emphasis substitute "rain is 
what we need" for "we need rain": but in so doing we do not attri- 
bute "what we need" to a non-existing "rain." It follows that 
assertions about obligatoriness cannot be analysed simply into asser- 
tions about rightness. For to say that an act is right is to say that 
it would be of a certain kind when accomplished, while to say that 
it is obligatory is no more than to say obliquely that an agent has an 
obligation to do it. 

We conclude, then, that the term obligatory is and can be used in 
two different ways, but that in neither of these ways is it used as 
synonymous with right. If there is any connection between obligation 
and rightness the connection must be between "X has an obligation 
to do y" and "doing y is right." 

134 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

We must now examine whether we can in fact identify "X has 
an obligation to do y" with "doing y is right." It is evident that, 
for Sir David Ross, this identification must be of paramount impor- 
tance. He plainly must regard these two expressions as having the 
same meaning, for otherwise he could not both accept Professor 
Prichard's views on obligatoriness, and continue to equate obligatory 
and right. But, as we shall see, it is by no means evident that "X 
has an obligation to do y" can be identified with "doing y is right" ; 
and if this is what Sir David Ross wishes to maintain it is incumbent 
dh him to show how the one expression can be translated into the 
other. As far as I can see, however, no explicit analysis of the rules 
which should govern this translation is offered anywhere in the 
Foundations. The expression "having a duty" is only mentioned 
casually, and it is not easy to see how it is meant to be understood. 
Certain inferences, however, are possible, and to them I shall now 
turn. 

In this connection we have first to note that common speech does 
connect the expressions "X ought to do y" and "doing y is morally 
right," but also that this usage allows of more than one interpre- 
tation. We have already seen that by the moral rightness of an act 
we do often mean its conformity to a duty prior to it. On this view, 
it is true, "X ought to do y" entails "doing y is morally right," 
though even then the two expressions have not literally the same 
meaning. The first denotes that an agent has a duty to do y, the 
second that if he did y he would do that which fulfills his duty. The 
two expressions refer to two distinct states of affairs, one which 
actually exists, the other which would exist only in certain hypo- 
thetical circumstances. Moreover, knowledge of the one, the agent's 
duty, is logically prior to knowledge of the other, the moral rightness 
of his prospective acts. On the other hand, it is true, we can convey 
the same meaning by using the one or other expression, yet, 
not because both describe the same state of affairs, but because 
the second is so defined as to be entailed by the first. 

Thus, there is some connection between "X ought to do y" and 
"doing y is right," but our intrepretation of this connection is very 
different from that which Sir David Ross must give to it. On his 
view, acts are morally right not because an agent had a duty to do 
them, but because they are suitable to his environment; and to say 
that he has a duty is tantamount to saying that some action would 
be suitable. But, prima facie, there seems no equivalence at all 
between saying "a charitable action would be suitable to this 
situation" and "X has a duty to do a charitable action." For it is 
obscure what exactly we predicate of the agent here and now when 
we assert that an action if, or when, it occurred would have a certain 
property. 

135 



PHILOSOPHY 

There may, however, be a way to overcome this difficulty. Actions 
are done by agents, and some, like acts of promise keeping or showing 
gratitude, would only be suitable to the situation if certain agents 
did them, while others, like acts of charity, would be suitable to the 
situation whoever did them. Hence, when we assert that certain 
actions would be suitable to a situation we ipso facto assert that some 
agent or agents would act suitably if they did them. If charitable 
actions would be right, then, X's .charitable action would be right ; 
and this we can also express by saying "X would do right if he acted 
charitably," or "X is in a position such, that if he did a charitabfc 
action he would do what would be right." Here, then, we have an 
assertion about the present condition of an agent which is 
implied by an assertion about the nature of a hypothetical action; 
and this might be considered formally equivalent to the expression 
"X has a duty to do a charitable action." 

There is nevertheless a difficulty. Sir David Ross himself points 
out we only say "X has a duty to do y" if doing y is not only right 
for the situation, but also within the power of X. Plainly, the fact 
that X is unable to relieve suffering would not prevent an act of 
relief being right in relation to somebody who suffered pain, but it 
would prevent it being an obligation for X : X would only be obliged 
to relieve the pain if he thought that doing so was also within his 
power. Hence, when we say that X thinks he has a duty we cannot 
merely mean that he thinks y would be right if it were done, or that 
he would do right if he did y. We must mean both this, and that he 
thinks he could actually do y. This, as far as I can see, is the only 
way in which we can try to make "X has a duty" very nearly the 
same as "doing y is right." We must be prepared to say that to have 
a duty is to be confronted with the possibility of doing what when done 
would be right, or fitting to a situation. 

Our next task is to examine whether "having a duty" can in fact 
be interpreted in this way, but before we turn to this we must note 
another point. The fact is that Sir David Ross never explicitly iden- 
tifies "having an obligation" with "being confronted with the possi- 
bility of a fitting action." He identifies "doing y is fitting" with 
"doing y is obligatory," and the latter with "X has a duty to do y." 
But he never acknowledges that in doing so he implies that "X has 
a duty" means "X would do what is fitting if he did y and he 
could do y." On the contrary, on the feVvr occasions when he speaks 
of "having a duty" he interprets this expression somewhat dif- 
ferently. To have a duty, he says, is to be confronted with a 
moral claim, or to have an action called for of us. Thus, to have a 
prima facie obligation is to have a claim existing against oneself 
such as a claim for the restitution of property or the fulfilment 
of a promise; and we create a new obligation when we give a 

136 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

promise in as much as in giving it we create a moral claim against 
ourselves. 

I do not want to exaggerate the difference between this interpre- 
tation and the previous one. Plainly, they are related. To be con- 
fronted with a moral claim is, on Sir David Ross's premises, to be 
confronted with a claim to which an act of fulfilment would be 
fitting; and to be confronted with the possibility of a fitting action 
is, as he frequently implies, to be confronted with the possibility 
of an action fitting to a claim. Nevertheless, I think, there is 
sdhie difference. For, on the one view, to know that we have a duty 
would be to know that we could do a fitting action, while, on the 
other, it would be to know that we are called upon to do it. Hence, 
on the one view, we have a duty when we are faced with a possibility, 
on the other, when we are faced with a demand or necessity. Some- 
times, Sir David Ross himself seems to attach importance to this 
difference, as when he says that we come to recognize what is our 
duty "first rather vaguely as suitable to a situation, and then with 
more urgency as called for by the situation' 1 ; 1 but at other times he 
treats the difference as merely a matter of language.* I think the 
difference between these two interpretations of "having a duty" is 
important enough to justify their separate examination. I do not 
consider that either is sufficiently in accord with common usage to 
be acceptable, but certain objections apply only to the one and not 
to the other. I shall now turn to this examination beginning with the 
first interpretation. 

Of the two interpretations, I think, the defects of the first are 
more easily apparent. It amounts to saying that an agent knows he 
has a duty when and because he knows he could suit his environment 
if he would, and to accept this as an account of moral obligation is 
confounding common usage. When we say that X is obliged to do y, 
we are implying not merely that it is open to X to do y, but also 
that in some manner it is not open to X to do anything else. We are 
referring to some imperative necessity, not to a bare possibility of 
action. Admittedly, this necessity is not a merely physical one, for an 
agent can think himself obliged, and yet not do what he ought to do. 
Moral necessitation is certainly different from mere physical neces- 
sitation. But, whatever the nature of moral necessitation may be, 
the essence of moral obligation cannot be accounted for without it. 
To have a duty is to be faced with some present categorical demand 
to act, and no theory which seeks to interpret obligation in terms 

1 Foundations of Ethics, 170 (my italics). 

1 Ibid., 315. "When we face a moral situation, what we see first is the 
existence of component suitabilities, or responsibilities, or claims, or prima 
facie obligations whichever language we prefer." 

137 



PHILOSOPHY 

of the fittingness of hypothetical acts to situations can account for 
this. The perception of suitabilities could only be associated with the 
perception of moral obligations if it led, in turn, to the perception 
of something else, that is of an imperative necessity or categorical 
demand to do what would be suitable. These two states of affairs 
would be distinct even if it so happened that perception of the one 
were always followed by perception of the other. They require 
separate analysis, and what connection there may be between them 
cannot be taken for granted. The judgement "X ought to do what 
is right for a situation" is not analytic, but synthetic. Anybody to 
whom it was pointed out that if he did y he would do what would 
be right or fitting and that he could do y, would still be at liberty 
to deny that he had a duty to do y, until he was further convinced 
of some present imperative necessity to do so. 

We must now consider the second view of "having an obligation," 
implicit in the Foundations. It is, I think, a more plausible account 
of obligation as a fact external to agents than the first, for it suggests 
both that to be obliged consists in being confronted with some 
present need or necessity of acting, and that this need or necessity 
inheres in the situation. There can be a claim on an agent in a 
situation, whatever his own state of mind; and this state of affairs 
contains the element of command normally associated with obligation. 
Moreover, such a view finds some support in common usage. People 
speak of their obligations or responsibilities towards their neigh- 
bours or their office, meaning that these confront them with demands 
which it would be right to fulfil. Again, they speak of their financial 
obligations, meaning that the payment of certain sums is required 
of them; and of entering into obligations, meaning that they are 
creating new demands upon themselves. Hence, it seems plausible 
to say that what constitutes a duty is the existence of an external 
claim. 

Now it is of the essence of this view that it implies the severance 
of any link between "having a duty to do y" and having, for this 
reason any manner of motive or incentive to do y. In order to hold 
it we must maintain that to think we have a duty is merely to think 
that an action is externally required of us : we are, therefore, obliged 
whether we are internally constrained to do the act in question or 
not. Such is the case, even if the claim which constitutes the obli- 
gation is thought to be a specifically moral one, or one which it would 
be right to fulfil. For, a "moral claim/' on Sir David Ross's premises, 
is no more than a claim with a characteristic once more external 
to the agent, that is a claim to which an accomplished act of fulfil- 
ment would be peculiarly fitting; and it is conceivable for an agent 
to know that he is confronted with a claim of this kind, and yet to 
feel honestly indifferent, or even averse to its satisfaction. 

138 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

On this view, then, to "have an obligation" is to be faced with 
a need or demand for action purely external to ourselves; and this 
implies we can know our duty without having, for this reason alone, 
any sufficient cause for doing the act which is our duty; for we have 
no sufficient cause for doing anything without the actual presence 
of some inward incentive or impelling motive to do it; and we are 
incapable of exerting ourselves in any particular direction if the 
thought of doing so leaves us totally unaffected, if not totally averse. 
Hence, to know that an act is our duty is not yet to have any 
sufficient cause to do it; and we could only do our duty if it so 
happened that our knowledge coincided with a separate impulse to 
do it. Sir David Ross himself notes this implication. He refers to the 
familiar fact that ' 'people often know or think an act to be their 
duty, and yet do not do it"; and he adds that "they will do it only 
if in addition to knowing or thinking it to be their duty they are 
impelled with a certain degree of intensity towards the doing of 
duty"; 1 that is, if apart from knowing their duty they also have a 
separate impulse to do it, an impulse which except for its object 
is like any other. 

Now, I think, this view of obligation, like the previous one, fails 
to account for some essential features of the common meaning of the 
term. We commonly expect that in thinking ourselves obliged we 
ipso facto feel some constraint to do what we think we ought to do;* 
and that we cannot neglect our known duty without disregarding 
a prompting whose influence we had previously felt. But if the known 
presence of an external claim is sufficient to constitute a duty, then, 
we can know we are obliged to an action without, ipso facto, per- 
ceiving any internal need to do it; and we can neglect our known 
duty without even the possibility of feeling remorse. Moreover, an 
agent can then know himself obliged to an action, and yet know 
that neither he nor anybody else can reasonably expect him to do it ; 
and this conflicts with the principle that ought implies can. 

Now, Sir David Ross acknowledges this principle in another con- 
text. He agrees that, actually, in order to have a duty we must not 

1 Foundations of Ethics, 226-227. 

* Hume makes this point forcibly: "If morality had naturally no influence 
on human passions and actions, it were in vain to take such pains to inculcate 
it; and nothing could be more. fruitless than that multitude of rules and 
precepts with which all moralists abound. Philosophy is commonly divided 
into speculative and practical ; and as morality is always comprehended under 
the latter division, it is supposed to influence our passions and actions and 
to go beyond the calm and indolent judgement of the understanding. And 
this is confirmed by common experience which informs us that men are often 
governed by their duties, and are deterred from some actions by the opinion 
of injustice, and impelled to others by that of obligation." A Treatise of 
Human Nature, Vol. II, 166, Everyman's Library. 

139 



PHILOSOPHY 

only be confronted by a claim, but must also know or think that 
we are so confronted, for otherwise we could not be expected to 
satisfy it. But, if this is granted, mere knowledge of an external 
demand for y can still not constitute a duty to do y: for such know- 
ledge does not, ipso facto, provide us with any incentive, and we 
have argued that as long as an incentive is lacking we shall be 
unable to act. It is true, he allows that in order to do our duty, as 
distinct from knowing that we have it, we must also have a separate 
desire to do it, but this admission is not enough. For as long as it is 
maintained that knowing that an act is a duty is distinct from feelitfg 
any kind of incentive to do it, it is also maintained that we can be 
obliged to actions which for lack of any incentive no one can reason- 
ably expect us to do. 

Nor, I think, could this position be amended by granting that in 
order to be actually or "subjectively " obliged we must both know 
our duty and desire to do it. On such a view, to know that y is a 
duty would be to know that y is what is claimed of us and that we 
desire y because we desire to do what is claimed of us. But this cannot 
be the same as to know that we are morally obliged to do y. To be 
moved to pay bills because doing so is an act of a kind which is 
desired is indistinguishable from any other state of desiring except 
by its object. It is to be moved simply by inclination, and it is not 
different in this respect from desiring to take another's purse because 
we desire to get his money. But it is commonly agreed that when we 
are moved to do what is our duty we are not simply in a state of 
desiring, but are moved by an impulse which carries with it some 
sense of imperative necessity. Hence we could only be obliged to pay 
our bills because doing so is claimed of us, if the thought of doing 
what is claimed of us were itself not merely accompanied by desire, 
but by a special sense of feeling constrained to do so. And if this were 
the case, the reason why we ought to pay our bills would not be in 
the bare fact that we know that this is claimed of us, but in the 
additional fact that we know it to be inwardly demanded of us to 
satisfy external claims. 

I conclude that to know we are required to pay our bills or to 
keep our promises _ is not ipso facto to know that we are morally 
obliged to do so. We only have moral obligations when we know 
that actions are categorically demanded of us, and this demand 
must be internal and not merely external to ourselves : for only then 
would the knowledge that doing an action is a duty be identical 
with the knowledge of a sufficient reason for doing it. But to know 
that others have claims upon us is not yet to know that we are 
internally committed to satisfy these claims: and hence the judge- 
ment that we ought to do what is externally required of us, like 
the judgement that we ought to do what would be right for a 

140 



OBLIGATION ANDRIGHTNESS 

situation, is not analytic, but synthetic. The known presence of an 
external demand can be the ground of a duty, but it cannot of itself 
constitute a duty. 

The conclusion that "having a duty" must be a state of being 
inwardly determined to action can be confirmed by another con- 
sideration. It is an implication of the ''external fact" analysis of 
obligation that it is not essential for judgements about moral obliga- 
tions to have an influence on him whose actions they concern, and 
\Wio accepts them as true. Discussions about duty would be about 
no more than the existence of claims, or the characteristics of hypo- 
thetical actions; and even if we convinced another of his duty we 
should only convince him of the existence of a state of affairs external 
to himself. We should, therefore, not have necessarily affected his 
inward attitude or brought him one whit nearer to feeling an incen- 
tive to do what he ought to do. But in fact when we try to convince 
another that he ought to pay his bills, we expect our argument if 
accepted to effect some change of heart in him, though it may still 
not change his outward actions. Discussions about moral problems 
are commonly carried on in the belief that in proving our point, and 
having it assented to, we shall provide one another with motives 
or "exciting reasons" (Hutcheson) for doing what otherwise we 
should not have been ready to do. We should think it odd to receive 
the answer: "Yes, I know now that and why I ought to pay my bills, 
but I am still without any incentive for doing so, and I, therefore, 
have as little cause for paying them as I had before I knew I 
ought to." 

But the fact that this answer appears odd is evidence that judge- 
ments about moral obligations bring to light some internal necessity 
of acting, and not merely the existence of a state of affairs external 
to ourselves. For only such judgements can essentially have an in- 
fluence on people's readiness to act, while the latter have such 
influence if at all only incidentally. Thus, we make a judgement about 
an internal practical necessity when we say: "The thought of you 
paying your bills could not fail to move you if you considered the 
matter fully and impartially"; and we make a judgement about an 
external state of affairs when we say: "Paying bills is fulfilling 
expectations," or "to go out in the rain is to get wet." The first 
kind of judgement is essentially practical since we cannot verify it 
and accept it as true of ourselves without actually testing our own 
reactions under conditions of full and impartial consideration; and 
when we do so we ipso facto come into the very state of mind with 
which the judgement was concerned. To realize that, if I reflected, 
I should feel ready to do y is at that moment to experience a 
readiness to do y which I did not feel before. The second kind of 

141 



PHILOSOPHY 

judgement is essentially theoretical and non-committal, and what 
practical effects it may have are no more than incidental to it. It 
may prompt me to pay my bills, but it need not do so. The thought 
of fulfilling expectations by paying bills may be such as to leave 
me indifferent, or I may fail to draw what practical conclusions can 
be drawn from it, e.g. that "since I want to fulfil expectations, and 
paying my bills is fulfilling expectations, I must on reflection be 
ready to pay my bills/' 

Thus, if judgements about moral obligations are by common con- 
sent practical, they cannot merely concern the existence of claims 
or of any other state of affairs purely external to the agent. For the 
judgement that "y is required of me by the situation/' or that "y 
would be suitable to the situation" can have no more direct and 
unequivocal influence on my readiness to do y, than the judgement 
"it is raining hard" can have on my readiness to take an umbrella 
or to stay at home. The only judgements which directly and un- 
equivocally exhibit new motives to actions are judgements about 
an agent's readiness on reflection to do one thing rather than another; 
and if judgements about obligations are expected to have this effect, 
they must be judgements of this kind. They must be concerned with 
exhibiting the presence of a special kind of motive: with reminding 
ourselves or others that on reflection we must be prompted cate- 
gorically to do certain actions or to refrain from others. 

We are now in a position to view Sir David Ross's doctrine as a 
whole. We must conclude that it fails in its purpose. It does not 
offer an acceptable account of obligation in terms of Tightness in 
relation to a situation. We have seen that to say that an act is obligatory 
is neither the same nor very nearly the same as to say that an act 
is right ; and, moreover, we have seen that to say that an agent has 
an obligation is different from saying either that he could do what 
would be right, or that he is externally required to do what would 
be right. We cannot but think that when we are morally obliged 
we are in some manner inwardly constrained, and not merely sur- 
rounded by the pieces of a cosmic jig-saw puzzle which we could fit 
together if we would, or by foreign claims made on us by God, man, 
or situations. Our objective situation is no doubt relevant to the 
knowledge of our duties for it contains their grounds. But, in order 
to know how we ought to meet our environment we must turn into 
ourselves and enquire what relation exists between the thought of 
those actions which the situation proffers, and our own impulses to 
do what we could do, or what is demanded of us. This point, I think, 
is overlooked not merely by Sir David Ross, but by anybody who 
seeks the essence of obligation in a characteristic that belongs not 
to ourselves, but to our prospective actions. The essence of having 

142 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

an obligation consists in some inward condition of being determined 
to action; and any "external fact" analysis of obligation must fail, 
in my opinion, precisely because it separates the obligation to action 
from the internal conditions which determine to action. 

I have come to the end of my critical review, but I cannot conclude 
without proffering some remarks about the alternative account of 
obligation entailed by it. 

Here it is interesting to note that the belief that obligations are 
independent existents is in some manner fostered by the suggestive- 
ness of language. "Having an obligation" or "being under an obli- 
gation" suggests a state of affairs existing for an agent, yet not 
merely in relation to him. But to "have an obligation" is not like 
"having money in the bank"; to be "under an obligation" is not 
like being "under a shower" or "in the water." If anything it is 
like "having an impulse," "having an obsession," or "being in 
trouble." For the second set of expressions we can substitute asser- 
tions about individual states of mind, like "being impelled," "being 
obsessed" or "being troubled," for the first we cannot. I have no 
doubt that "having an obligation" ranks with the second. The possi- 
bility of substituting for it the expression "being obliged" is a clear 
clue to this. Strictly speaking, there is nothing that can be called 
an obligation. What we think of when we use the term is that agents 
are obliged to actions by the thought of them, or that the thought of actions 
obliges agents to do them. We think not of an entity, but of a relation 
between agents, the thought of actions, and the doing of actions. 

It is plain from the preceding argument what species of relation 
this must be. When we think we are obliged, we think of a relation 
of sequence in the order of events: between the idea of an action 
(of an act of thinking, choosing, willing, or moving any of our limbs) 
and consequent changes in ourselves, beginning with a change in 
our inward dispositions and terminating in favourable conditions 
in mental or bodily events which, if they corresponded to our anti- 
cipations, would be our action. Moral obligation is a relation of 
prompting to action between the thought of an act and an agent, or 
of being prompted to action between an agent and the thought of an 
act. To oblige is to affect, to be obliged is to be affected. Obligation 
is a species of the relation of cause and effect as applied to human 
agents and their actions. * 

This view will appear less bold if we recall its provenance. It was 
held, at least implicitly, by many adherents to the doctrine of 
Natural Law. An obligation, Pufendorf wrote, is "a moral operative 
quality, by which a man is bound to perform somewhat or to suffer 
somewhat." It is a "moral necessity to perform, or admit, or undergo 
anything," and "although there are many other things which have 

143 



PHILOSOPHY 

an influence on the will in bending it towards one side, rather than 
the contrary, yet obligation has this peculiar force beyond them all, 
that whereas they only press the will with a kind of natural weight 
or load, on the removal of which it returns of its own accord to its 
former indifference, obligation affects the will in a moral way, and 
inspires it inwardly with such a particular sense, as compels it to 
pass censure itself on its own actions/' 1 Again, Hume conceived of 
obligatoriness as a relation between the thought of actions and an 
agent's will; and he concluded that because this relation is a causal 
one it cannot be demonstrable that "the measures of right and wrong;" 
that is Samuel Clarke's "natural fitness and unfitness of things" are 
"universally forcible and obligatory." 2 Furthermore, Kant's ethics 
rest on the principle that a duty is a categorical determination of an 
agent's will: the problem of a Critique of Practical Reason is to dis- 
cover how pure reason can become the cause of such a determination. 
The moral law embodies an "objective practical necessity of certain 
actions" and it is called a "law of freedom" rather than a "law of 
nature" because human agents are necessarily determined to follow 
the course which it prescribes only as long as their reason prevails 
over their uncontrolled impulses. 

There is, then, some support for the kind of view on obligation 
which is here suggested, though I shall not deny that it has its own 
as yet unsolved difficulties. To be obliged is to be inwardly deter- 
mined to action, but we are not morally obliged whenever we are 
inwardly determined. Being morally obliged must be distinguishable 
from merely being impelled, being urged, or feeling inclined. It is 
being inwardly determined with a special disinterestedness, impera- 
tiveness, and a necessity which is as yet other than purely physical: 
in a manner which allows an agent to say here I stand, I cannot do 
otherwise. 

With the analysis of this special manner of being inwardly deter- 
mined I am not here concerned. May be, Butler was right in saying 
that to be morally obliged is to be prompted to action by a unique 
principle of "conscience or reflection," or Kant that it is to be 
necessarily determined as the result of a free exertion of pure practical 
reason. Or it may be right to say, as I myself would argue, that for 
an agent to be morally obliged is to be prompted in a given situation 
"by the thought of that action which, on full reflection and when he is 
honest with himself, proves unalterably more impelling than the thought 
of any rival one. 3 Whether any of these views is the correct one, this 
is not the place to enquire. All that I am concerned to emphasize is 
that moral obligation must be defined in terms of some such state 

1 Pufendorf , Of the Law of Nature and Nations, English translation, 1 703, 47 . 

* Op. cit., 174. 

3 Vide my paper on Morals Without Faith, Philosophy, April 1944. 

144 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

of affairs. The nature of the things which we are obliged to do con- 
tains only the grounds, but not yet the essence of moral obligation. 
What alone can render a prospective action obligatory is that an 
agent is in some special manner impelled to do it, or that he thinks 
he would be so impelled if he reflected. 

The distinction between the essence of moral obligation and its 
grounds has preoccupied moralists ever since Professor Prichard 
raised the problem more than thirty years ago, 1 but, if the preceding 
argument is correct, then I think it is evident that it has not yet 
been carried far enough. Professor Prichard observed that to say 
of an act that it would be good or have good consequences is not the 
same as to say that anybody has a duty to do good acts. With this 
I fully agree. Goodness belongs to our acts or their consequences: 
it is the fruit of accomplishment. But a moral obligation to do good 
acts belongs to ourselves before we have done anything; and it 
consists solely in the imperative force with which the thought of 
doing what is good prompts us to bring it into existence. Hence, 
what makes the good act a duty is not the bare fact that it would 
be good when done, but the fact that the thought of it is related to 
ourselves in a special manner; and even if it were the case that 
ultimately none but good acts were obligatory, their goodness would 
be no more than the ground of a separate obligation to do them. 
The failure to observe this point is the main defect of the classical 
tradition in morals. 

The same argument applies to lightness or fittingness. We have 
advanced no step further towards distinguishing the goodness 
of acts from the duty to do them by merely distinguishing their 
goodness from their lightness. It is true that Tightness, as Sir David 
Ross understands it, is a characteristic of acts which is wider than 
their goodness; and he is, therefore, entitled to say that goodness 
is only one of the grounds which make acts right or fitting. But we 
should not be saying that we ought to do an act merely by saying 
that it would be right any more than by saying that it would be 
good. For whether we mean by Tightness the capability of an act to 
harmonize with situations or its suitability to the ends or nature 
of others or of the agent himself, its Tightness like its goodness 
belongs to it for its properties when accomplished. And though 
the anticipation of these properties in thought, like that of goodness, 
can become the ground of an obligation to do right acts, the essence 
of having a duty to do them can no more consist in their Tightness 
than in their goodness. 

Hence, there is no justification for singling out any special kind 
of Tightness as a specifically moral one merely because it is a pecu- 
1 Does Moral Philosophy rest on a Mistake? Mind, 1912. 

K 145 



PHILOSOPHY 

liar property of certain acts. The only reason for which acts can be 
called moral or immoral is that the thought of them is the ground 
of a prior duty to do or to forbear to do them: as long as they are 
considered in their own nature alone there is no more morality or 
immorality in charity, faithfulness or justice, than in fraud, cruelty 
or treachery. And, at any rate without further evidence, there is 
no reason for assuming that nothing but the thought of a unique 
fittingness of acts to situations if we are prepared to accept 
this expression as the description of anything real at all can be 
the ground of a moral obligation to do them. Anybody willing'to 
maintain this must show it to be demonstrably certain that the 
thought of fitting acts and no other must cause human agents to feel 
categorically impelled: the onus probandi rests with him. 

The only acts which are ipso facto morally right are those whose 
Tightness is not the ground of a prior duty to do them, but which 
are called right simply because they are the fulfilment of a duty. This, 
I have indicated, is a common, if unsophisticated, use of this term, 
and in fact I think it is the one most in accord with common usage. 
But here it is plain that morals can gain nothing from approaching 
the problem of obligation by way of that of moral Tightness. For 
moral Tightness in this sense denotes nothing but the conformity 
of an accomplished act to something moral prior to it, that is a duty 
to do it : and by investigating the Tightness of a right action we shall 
receive no more information about the nature of duty, than by 
investigating the Tightness of a right answer we shall receive infor- 
mation about the nature of truth. The primary task of moral philo- 
sophy is to analyse what it is for agents to have moral duties, and 
we have to conclude that the analysis of Tightness in any sense of 
the term offers no more of a clue to this than that of goodness. Those 
in sympathy with the deontological approach, first fully adopted by 
Kant, and revived by Professor Prichard have stopped short of this 
last conclusion. 

Nor can morals gain anything from approaching the problem of 
obligation by way of the study of external claims or commands. To 
have a duty is to be internally required or commanded, and external 
requirements or commands can, once more, be no more than the 
grounds of a duty to satisfy them. 

Strictly speaking it is therefore incorrect to say that when we 
incur debts, or give promises we create new obligations for ourselves. 
What we create are demands or expectations on the part of other 
people concerning ourselves such as demands for repayment, or the 
expectation to see a promise fulfilled. But we cannot directly create 
moral obligations since we have no power of causing the thought 
of these demands or expectations to move us imperatively if it be 
not in our nature to be so moved by it. In fact, it mostly so happens 

146 



OBLIGATION AND RIGHTNESS 

that the thought of satisfying demands of our own making is also 
categorically impelling. Yet, it is not the obligation which is of our 
own making, but the demand which is its ground; and it is therefore 
not tautologous to say that we are obliged to honour our own 
commitments. 

I grant, that "I have a moral obligation" and "I am confronted 
with a moral claim" may be used with the same meaning, but this 
depends on what is meant by a ''moral claim." It would not be used 
with the same meaning if by moral claim is meant a claim to which 
an act of fulfilment would be peculiarly fitting. For, whether a claim 
of this description is also the ground of an obligation to satisfy 
it, depends, as we have seen, not merely on the nature of the claim 
and the effects of satisfying it, but on some further relation between 
the thought of it and an agent. In fact, when we speak of people's 
moral claims or of rights which they have against others, we com- 
monly mean no more than that they have claims which others have 
a duty to fulfil; and then, plainly, to have a duty and to have a moral 
claim against oneself is one and the same. 

Hence, common usage is justified in regarding the incurring of 
debts or the giving of promises as the creation of moral claims against 
ourselves, but only because, when we create the claims, a duty to 
satisfy them is presupposed. Without a prior duty no external claim 
or demand, whether created by ourselves or not, constitutes as yet 
an obligation: even the commands of God could only constitute 
moral obligations for somebody who considered it a law unto himself 
to respect what God bids him to do. For the command of a superior 
is an external fact, while the duty to obey it can only be a fact 
internal to the recipient. 



147 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE 
PERSUASION 

MAUD BODKIN, M.A. 

THE intention of this article is to examine the concept of the Divine 
persuasion as presented within the system of Dr. A. N. Whiteheacl. 
An attempt will be made to indicate the distinctive value of the 
concept in relation to certain relevant aspects of the religious thought 
of our time. 

His concept of the Divine persuasion Whitehead himself relates 
to Plato's idea of the supreme craftsman through whose agency such 
order as is possible the best necessity allows is produced among 
motions relatively chaotic. "God, desiring that all things should be 
good . . . taking all that was visible as it came to him, not in a 
state of rest, but moving without order or harmony, brought it from 
disorderliness to order." "For indeed, the generation of this universe 
was a mixed result of the combination of Necessity and Reason; 
Reason overruled Necessity by persuading her to guide the greatest 
part of the things that became towards what is best" (Timaeus 2gd, 
47d, Cornford's translation). 

The first of these statements expresses the notion, fundamental in 
Whitehead's system, of the creative process as the incoming of a new 
type of order, and of this order as at the first established within not 
an inert substance, but a flux, a "creativity," formless, undetermined. 

The second statement asserts the manner of this incoming by means 
of a term that links with present moral intuition our guess at the 
origin of the world. The term "persuasion," applied to the operation 
of divine power implies that the true image of God is not the omni- 
potent despot, but the "still voice" that men and things may at 
their peril disregard. If to the significant term "persuasion," we add 
the thought of the pattern Ideas, uncreated, immutable to which, 
in Plato's image, the divine artificer looks, we have the ancient basis 
of thought which Whitehead has elaborated as a present-day theory 
of the divine operation within the world. 

It is in Adventures of Ideas (Cambridge, 1933), ch. II, that we find 
the fullest exposition of the concept of divine persuasion in relation 
to physical agencies, as this creative process appears, not to the 
metaphysician conjecturing the world's origin, but to the historian 
of human progress and frustration. Whitehead illustrates from the 
history of the concept of human worth or dignity the dependence 
upon physical conditions of the realization of the persuasive idea. 

I4 8 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

Plato's visior of human worth, the potential divinity of man, could 
not be realized in its full bearing on human relationship in a society 
founded on slavery. Yet the idea energizing in men's minds had some 
effect in humanizing the cruel institution it could not abolish. 
Finding in the Christian gospel a new and powerful "special expres- 
sion/' the idea became a standing criticism of current practice, and 
was embodied, partially and gradually, in many more special 
notions, legal, political, ethical. To its haunting presence sceptical 
humanitarians of the eighteenth and democrats of the nineteenth 
cfentury, fervent Methodists and Quakers, responded, preaching it 
each in his distinctive terms. We note, however, that the idea, so 
long and widely active in men's minds, became effective in the 
abolition of chattel-slavery only at the time when physical conditions 
had become favourable. Mechanical devices, discoveries of the in- 
dustrial revolution, provided a changed environment for the solving 
of the problem involved. Thus, in this instance, there contributed to 
the effecting of a basic social change many different "insights and 
heroisms," forms of spiritual agency, together with "senseless 
agencies," the newly utilized powers of steam and steel. 

It is clear in this example that the kinds of agency termed spiritual 
and physical are in their occurrence only partially distinguishable. 
The teachings of saints and philosophers imply operation of psycho- 
physical forces, highly evolved brain-energies. The steam-engine and 
power-loom imply moments of intellectual insight, continuous 
functioning of ideas. The broad distinction between physical and 
spiritual or mental, hard to maintain in complex historic illustration, 
is conceived by Whitehead, when we come to the ultimate "actual 
entity," the present "drop of experience," as the contrast between 
"what the antecedent world in fact contains," the achieved "habits 
of nature," and whatever ideal elements, new "forms of definiteness" 
belong to the present moment's "decision." 1 Thus if, as illustration, 
we conceive methodist preacher or humanitarian philosopher at 
some instant of realization of his distinctive message, we can feel 
with him the contrast between the ideal in its divine persuasiveness 
and the stubborn facts against which the idea must make way the 
inertia of selfish habit in his own nature and in the institutions of 
society. 

If we accept as fundamental this antithesis of spiritual and 
physical persuasive idea and stubborn fact the question arises: 
within the processes of nature what efficacy can be ascribed to ideas? 
The positive character of Whitehead's answer to this question may 
stand out more clearly if we compare it with the negative view of 
another philosopher within whose system the same antithesis is 
recognized. 

* Adventures of Ideas, pp. 53, 84, 269. Process and Reality, pp. 29, 58, 62. 

149 



PHILOSOPHY 

George Santayana, like Whitehead, accepts as fundamental 
Plato's distinction between unchanging ideas, forms, essences, and 
the flux within which these find temporary embodiment. For readers 
who respond to a vivid poetic treatment of metaphysical problems 
no less than to technical exposition, Santayana's writings supply an 
enrichment of Whitehead's contrast between the physical and 
spiritual aspects, or poles, of any actual entity. 

The "actual entity" or "occasion" of Whitehead appears in 
Santayana's phrase as the "natural moment" in which an essence is 
exemplified. It is the concrete but ultimate element in the web ctf 
existence, a fact generated and dated in the flux, with derivative 
relations and forward reference to other natural moments past and 
future. In contrast with these "connexions and transmissions," its 
physical pole or aspect, the natural moment possesses also the dis- 
tinctive function of embodying an unchanging essence. It draws 
down into itself in its passing something of the eternal. 1 

In many different forms of speech Santayana has celebrated the 
inner or spiritual life, the enjoyment and contemplation of essences. 
As often he has insisted on the inefficacy of essences within the 
temporal, material world. The "descent or incarnation of essences 
cannot be their own doing, since all essences are inert and non- 
existent." They "overarch existence," which without them could 
never have wakened into consciousness; yet their necessity is 
"moral" and "logical" only. To assign them status as final causes 
within the world of fact is mere rhetoric or superstition.* 

To the reformer or philosopher, then, at the moment of his aspira- 
tion toward the ideal, Santayana can commend only stillness, resig- 
nation. Spirit attains freedom and fulfilment so far only as "happy 
in itself and pledged to nothing further," it ceases to "beat its wings 
unreconciled against natural bars. "3 Certainly the ideal I entertain 
may affect my life and action, but that is so far as my act of thought 
is a natural function, determined by those material conditions which 
together constitute my body. Common speech may ascribe to spirit 
and to ideas the efficacy properly belonging to brain function, but the 
philosopher probing beneath common speech can, in Santayana's 
view, admit, as distinct from the physical, no spiritual agency. 

By Whitehead, on the contrary, the common distinction between 
spiritual and physical agencies is maintained, though not without 
critical analysis. All essences, Santayana has affirmed, are inert and 
non-existent. The "flash of insight"4 to which this statement invites 
us is offered by Whitehead also in his repudiation of the notion of 
"vacuous actuality." Essences, abstracted as Santayana has ab~ 

* The Realm of Matter (Constable, 1930), pp. 86-9. 

Ibid., pp. 84, 194-5. The Realm of Spirit, p. 79. 

I The Realm of Spirit, pp. 106, 107. 4 Process and Reality, p. 5. 

150 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

stracted them from the act of apprehension, cannot, in Whitehead's 
view either, play any part in the process of nature. That they do play 
a part depends, Whitehead asserts, on their status in the nature 
of God. 1 

One must proceed cautiously in the attempt to relate what White- 
head says of God, as the source or ground of new types of order, to 
an individual's imaginative awareness of God as the inspiration of 
his moral life. The term we have chosen to consider, the "Divine 
persuasion," requires for its understanding an attempt to conceive 
the conscious individual encounter with the divine, in its range of 
variety from tenderest consolation and support to awe-inspiring 
challenge and condemnation, and to hold in mind, as background to 
this, such questions as confront the metaphysician concerning the 
presence of form and change in the material universe. If we take as 
starting-point human consciousness of divine persuasion, as White- 
head views it, we conceive first a wider range of experience than 
comes usually into a religious survey. A Bradlaugh or Voltaire, fight- 
ing for a social order in which sincere negation is respected, responds 
in his own mode to divine persuasion equally with the individual 
who grasps his ideal as a personal encounter and communicates it in 
dogmatic affirmations. But beyond instances of human spiritual 
adventuring, Whitehead looks to the whole process of cosmic 
evolution. 

"To-day, so far as our observation goes," says Whitehead, the 
existing "aggregations of energy in the form of protons, electrons, 
molecules, cosmic dust, stars and planets ... are decaying . . . 
wasting at a finite rate."* There must have been some epoch in which 
the dominant trend was to their formation. The purely physical laws 
formulated within our scientific methodology take no account of the 
counter-agency needed to explain the evolutionary process. White- 
head's hypothesis is that the counter-agency is to be conceived as 
"some lowly diffused form of the operation of Reason."3 

Religious tradition has supplied a symbolic form for this hypo- 
thesis. God said: Let there be light: let there be water and dry earth; 
let the earth bring forth herb and tree. When our thought has 
translated this fiat of creation into the unmeasured ages of the 
geologist, the problem confronts us of conceiving the appearance of 
molecular and cellular structure as a response of the most primitive 
forms of existence to divine quickening. Imagery indeed fails us 
when, following at Whitehead's bidding4 the analogy of our conscious 

1 Process and Reality, pp. 39, 54. 

3 The Function of Reason (Princetown, 1929), p. 19. 3 Op. cit., p. 21. 

4 Cf. Modes of Thought (Cambridge, 1938), p. 158 : "Thus we finally construe 
the world in terms of the type of activities disclosed in our intimate 
experience." 



PHILOSOPHY 

appetition, we try to conceive actual entities of an inorganic nexus, by 
"decision" among the possibilities offered to their mental poles, 
accomplishing transition from one type of inorganic society to 
another, or to the lowliest form of cell-life. Yet in Whitehead's theory 
such decisions are implied; and for some minds apprehension of this 
wider range of final causation helps to deepen and assure the intuition 
of such causation in our own moral life. 

Whitehead has emphasized the necessity of grasping throughout 
our whole cosmology the true relation of final and efficient causes. 1 
It is, however, with our own human effort that we are mainly corf- 
cerned here. The persuasive agency of ideas influencing social action, 
through the mental pole of the high-grade occasions making up a 
personal life, has to be realized as limited by the "massive habits" 
of nature, determining these occasions through their physical pole. 
In Whitehead's historical instance the idea of essential human 
equality could not determine action when the inherited tradition and 
institution of slavery, in its more obvious form, dominated the flow 
of men's struggling thought. So at the present time, thought and 
effort inspired by the same ideal finds its limitation in habits and 
institutions that treat men as means to material production, or in 
other ways subordinate essential human claims to privileged 
ambitions. 

One difficulty in the way of clear apprehension of the relations of 
final and efficient causation may be found in the contrasting practice 
of the scientist and the moral reformer, the one confining attention 
to efficient causes, the other thinking mainly in terms of final causa- 
tion. Professor Macmurray, considering this difficulty, has proposed 
that the terms "motive" and "intention" should be so distinguished 
as to indicate the two different aspects of human behaviour.* The 
scientific psychologist, since he works by hypotheses publicly veri- 
fiable, necessarily limits his enquiries to "motivation" the ten- 
dencies established in the organism through past experience. Both 
he and those who use his results should remain aware of this limita- 
tion: that he has abstracted from the intentionality present both in 
his own activities of research, and in those activities, in their com- 
pleteness, of which he studies only the external pattern. In White- 
head's terms, actual entities are by the scientist studied only as past, 
public facts, objectively immortal, frojn which has "evaporated," 
"perished," that "internal existence" that belonged to them as 
present.3 The moral reformer, on the other hand, deals not with the 
past but with present and future with mankind in the making. He 
is occupied with the intention known from within, which he shares, 

1 Process and Reality, p. 116. 

The Boundaries of Science (Faber, 1939), ch. VI. 

3 Process and Reality, p. 310. 

152 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

or desires to share, with his fellows in the present moment of com- 
munication, and in the future which the present will help to 
determine. 

By way of illustration let us consider such a saying as that of 
Sir Richard Acland, speaking at a public meeting on Common Wealth 
ideals. "In the new civilization as we see it the motive of service to 
humanity is going to come first, and the motive of self-interest 
second." Compare with this the conclusions concerning motivation 
in a planned society of Sir Josiah Stamp, writing as a scientist and 
ffhilosopher. 1 

Sir Josiah Stamp speaks of considering motives "as they at 
present exist," and of the need for "knowledge on a more definite 
and scientific basis" about such motives as the desire "to do a 
workmanlike and efficient piece of work," and "man's ability to 
sacrifice for a principle, for an institution or for a person." But the 
scientific basis for measuring the strength of the desire to excel, or 
the love that makes sacrifice possible, can consist only of happenings 
in the past. Observed and analysed with whatever skill and care 
these cannot, if we accept Whitehead's view of final causation, assure 
us of what will happen in that unique present when each of us, as 
living actual entity, encounters the Divine persuasion. 

The reformer is so far at one with the sociologist that he also seeks 
to analyse and take account of past happenings. Sir Richard Acland 
compares the observed behaviour of workers in Soviet Russia and 
in capitalist Britain, arguing from the effort and sacrifice of which 
Russians have shown themselves capable to a probability of similar 
results from socialism in Britain. Yet the attempted argument from 
observed results is subordinate to the intention to stimulate collective 
emotion and will. The confident tone of the saying quoted is not due 
to any force of the argument from the past. If we are studying with 
Stamp the mechanism of motivation as hitherto observable, we may 
well assent to his conclusion that "over a major part of the field" 
such motivation cannot successfully work a planned society, 2 yet, 
as members of an active group looking alike at past and future in the 
light of our common intention, we may dare to assert that motives of 
which, with divine help, we are capable shall work a planned society. 

We seem at this point brought to a distinction which has, through 
the work of a recent writers become significant for many religious 
thinkers: that between a relation essentially personal, the relation 
I-Thou, and the relation /-/*, which a person has with an inanimate 
thing, or with another person considered as science considers him, as 

* "Can Present Human Motives Work a Planned Society," Philosophy, 
July, 1935. * Loc. cit. t p. 312. 

3 Martin Buber in Ich und Du, translated by R. G. Smith, / and Thou, 
Edinburgh, 1937. 

153 



PHILOSOPHY 

an object determined by the past. 1 When, looking to the future, I 
challenge my fellow man, as I challenge myself, to act in obedience 
to ideals which I see as binding on us both, I am speaking within the 
I -Thou relation. Within this relation is implicit the Power which 
Buber terms the Eternal Thou: in Whitehead's language, God whose 
primordial nature sustains the ultimate harmonies, rendering them 
active in human decisions. Buber has spoken of the necessary transi- 
tion by which the human Thou, whom I address as sharing with 
me relation to the Divine, must also be considered as an It an object 
determined, limited, by the past. To this transition even my thought 
of myself is subject. Looking to the future I assert my freedom to 
do what I see to be right; looking to the past I know myself as a 
creature with habits, dispositions strongly entrenched, hindering me 
from so acting. Religious teachers have recognized in the function of 
prayer and contemplation a means of reconciling the clash of these 
two modes of thought and being. It is in prayer and meditation, Dr. 
Denant has written, 2 that dispositions can be modified, "the channels 
of the soul recut." "If the intention is directed by the mind and con- 
science when one is poised in attention before the eternal things, then 
gradually the will is formed, and comes into being when the practical 
situation requires it." Somewhat similar though subject to yet 
greater difficulty and uncertainty is the collective effort to which the 
religious or political reformer challenges his hearers when he holds 
before them the great human ideals, trusting in the power of these 
to quicken a common will capable of the needed sacrifice and service. 
The clash of the I-Thou and I-It relations or of the modes of 
thought dominated respectively by final and by efficient causes has 
found expression in recent discussion of the words We and They 
as representing different political attitudes. Advocates of change, 
said Sir Stafford Cripps, lament "that 'they* will never implement 
the promise of a new Britain or a new world. . . . They' is not the 
language of democracy or even of the class struggle. They' is the 
language of dictatorship and defeatism of the common people."3 
Truly They, as present in the thoughts of the baffled reformer They 
who occupy key positions and, through the power of wealth over 

1 See especially Buber' s statement (/ and Thou, pp, 578) of the distinction 
between the limited scientific truth concerned with the "having become" 
(nichts-als-geworden-seins) and the truth, valid for spirit, of the active presence 
of the Thou, "the becoming out of solid connexion" (das Werden aus der 
Verbundenheit). In a supplement to The Christian News-Letter (December 29, 
1943) the Archbishop of Canterbury refers to the distinction between the 
scientific and the more fundamental spiritual approach to reality, and declares 
that a choice of the spiritual approach "a decision for society as the basic 
truth of human existence" would create a new epoch in human history. 

In The Life of the Church and the Order of Society (Longmans). 

3 From Sir Stafford Cripps's rectorial address to Aberdeen University, 
February 1943. 

154 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

press and party, manipulate public opinion is a concept tending 
toward defeatism, breathing discouragement on ardent hopes. Yet 
dare we substitute the easy optimism of the uncritical We the 
ardent reformer's cry, "We can do it if we will," where we represents 
the faithful few gathered at street corner or community centre, some 
group almost powerless in terms of the forces the sociologist must 
recognize ? The thinker's resource must be so to grasp, as Whitehead 
says, the true relation to each other of final and efficient causes as to 
sustain individual and collective intention oriented to the future, 
without losing sight of the balance of forces estimated through 
objective study of the past. Even study of the past, as the past is 
viewed by the historian concerned rather with unique occasions than 
with abstracted regularities, brings a saving uncertainty into our 
prediction of failure for the small group's generous hopes. Within 
limits, with qualifications, history has confirmed the spiritual insight 
of St. Paul concerning God's choice of the weak things of this world to 
confound the mighty. Our wisdom in viewing both past and future 
is to maintain faith in the ultimate harmonies God's nature sustains, 
while we continue the scientific search for conditions of achievement. 

One point of apparent conflict may be noted between Whitehead's 
account of the relations of actual entities and that given by Buber 
and others of the nature of personal relationship. Whitehead has 
emphasized the mutual independence of contemporary occasions, 
"within the sphere of their teleological self-creation . . . the imme- 
diate activity of self-creation is separate and private so far as con- 
temporaries are concerned." 1 Does this saying exclude that direct 
meeting in which, Buber has declared, true personal life consists ? 

One consideration that seems relevant here is that of the con- 
tinuity and integration of the high-grade occasions making up a 
conscious personal life. If we can recall from our own experience some 
moment of encounter with another's thought and intention from 
which was felt to spring new power, or some new way of life, such a 
moment must have consisted of many actual entities in Whitehead's 
sense. It was within the continuous and closely integrated sequence 
of these that the new meaning became distinct, passing from its 
dawn in consciousness to power and clarity. Yet the assertion that 
personal encounter takes place in such a sequence rather than in any 
single occasion does not wholly meet the difficulty. Whitehead has 
explicitly stated* and constantly implies3 that the subordinate 

* Adventures of Ideas, p. 252 : see also Modes of Thought, p. 206. 

Science and the Modern World, ch. V, pp. 109-12. 

3 Miss Dorothy Emmet has noted that the "cell-theory" applied in the 
passage in Science and the Modern World helps to explain Whitehead's con- 
tinual characterization of atomic actualities in terms intelligible in the first 
instance only by reference to nexus of relatively long duration. Whitehead's 
Philosophy of Organism (Macmillan, 1932), pp. 183-6. 

155 



PHILOSOPHY 

organisms making up a whole nexus participate in the characters of 
the whole. The character of "teleological self-creation," which we 
recognize within the moment of spiritual encounter, is precisely that 
which Whitehead attributes in some degree to every actual entity. 
The fundamental question at issue is whether in this self-creation 
the direct presence of the Thou can be asserted. 

The true answer to this question seems to me to have been indicated 
in the essay by Charles Hartshorn on Whitehead's Idea of God. 
"Must there not/' he questions, "be a cosmic present, in spite of 
relativity physics, the de facto totality of actual entities as present 
in the divine immediacy. . . . Since they are all immanent in God, 
and he in turn immanent in them, must they not be immanent in 
each other ?"* 

As relevant here we may note Whitehead's suggestion that through 
the "peculiarly intense relationship of mutual immanence" possible 
to persons, with the nature in one sense temporal in another non- 
temporal of God, the personal society constituting the human 
soul "may be freed from its complete dependence upon the bodily 
organization."* May this imply freedom also in some degree from 
confinement within the separateness of the body? In another pas- 
sage, referring to the mutual immanence of occasions, Whitehead has 
suggested: "perhaps . . . the relations of mental poles to each other 
are not subject to the same laws of perspective as are those of the 
physical poles. . . . Thus in respect to some types of appearance 
there may be an element of immediacy in its relations to the mental 
side of the contemporary world."3 The hint given in these two 
passages, taken in conjunction with Whitehead's whole discussion 
of truth and beauty of appearance, 4 suggests that his philosophic 

1 The Philosophy ofA.N. Whitehead, edited Schilpp (North Western Univ., 
1941), p. 545. * Adventures of Ideas, p. 267. 3 Ibid., p. 318. 

4 Whitehead has spoken of such an appearance as the young child's direct 
perception of its mother's mood as having "to the contemporary real mother a 
truth-relation in the fullest sense of the term 'truth* " (op. cit. f p. 316). In 
such an awareness there is no falsifying abstraction of "bare sense-perception" 
from total experience, with consequent "veiling from the observer" of the 
self -enjoyment of the contemporary world (cf. Ibid, pp. 280-2). The perceived 
feelings of the mother belong to the percipient's past only in the primary sense 
in which all activities of the bodily nexus are in the past by which the per- 
cipient occasion is conditioned. Yet for all the immediacy of such a perceptive 
encounter, the relation of appearance to reality is through the physical rather 
than the mental pole a matter "of efficient not final causation. An example 
of the relation of high-grade occasions through the mental pole might be that 
"sacrament of expression" in which I enjoy the communicated thought of 
Plato, extending my apprehension of the universe through "community of 
intuition" with the originating thinker (cf . Religion in the Making (Cambridge, 
Re-issue, 1930), p. 118). Here there is appearance immediate "in its relation 
to the mental side of the contemporary world" in which the thought of Plato, 
though not his animal body, still lives. 

156 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

outlook is compatible with a recognition, which he himself has not 
developed, of a unique significance in the relations of persons both 
one to another and to God. 

If we wish to consider further this question of compatibility 
between Whitehead's thought and the view that unique significance 
belongs to personal relationship, we may find our line of inquiry 
indicated by Whitehead's reference to the different types of order 
which the divine persuasion makes efficacious within societies of 
entities at different epochs. The structure of our epoch, says White- 
hSad, "exhibits successive layers of types of order, each layer in- 
troducing some additional type of order within some limited region 
which shares in the more general type of order of some larger en- 
vironment." 1 He refers to a percipient occasion within a particular 
-region grasping the region as one and itself as a member. We may 
think of a percipient occasion within a human life grasping itself and 
its living nexus* as belonging to each of two "successive layers of 
types of order." Thus St. Paul, and thousands after him, have felt 
with mingled grief and joy their subjection to both a "natural/' or 
animal, and a spiritual order a "law in the members" and a partici- 
pation in the Divine giving victory over that law. On man's member- 
ship of these two types of order religious thought has always focussed ; 
and the implication has been realized that self-centred "sinful" 
impulses inevitably mingle with action that spiritual aspirations 
initiate. In Whitehead's philosophy this "sinfulness" is interpreted as 
the destructive resistance of a higher by a lower type of order within 
a being capable of recognizing higher and lower. Such recognition, 
our grading of types of order, has its ground ultimately in what 
Whitehead terms "the teleology of the universe, with its aim at in- 
tensity and variety,"3 or "God's purpose in the creative advance," 
evoking "intensities," "depth of satisfaction," in actual occasions.4 

1 Adventures of Ideas, pp. 256-7. 

* A certain difficulty appears inevitable in the use of the term percipient 
occasion or event for my own self -awareness. The difficulty has been empha- 
sized by Professor Bowman in his criticism of Whitehead's system. (See his 
discussion of the percipient event, A Sacramental Universe, Princetown, 1939, 
pp. 117-24.) If, with Victor Lowes (in his essay "The Development of White- 
head's Philosophy/' The Philosophy of A. N. Whitehead, 1941), we venture 
to discount Bowman's criticism as taking account only of Whitehead's earlier 
work in which "the understanding of the physical level from the perspective 
of the metaphysical level is postponed" (he. cit., p. 87) we may still feel the 
awkwardness that must accompany the use of terms designed for exposition 
of the physical level, when we pass to consider our own life from the meta- 
physical level. The awkwardness is perhaps the price that must be paid for 
that systematic inclusiveness the effort to achieve both coherence and 
adequacy that has made Whitehead's thought relevant and stimulating 
within very diverse fields of interest. 

3 Adventures of Ideas, p. 259. 4 Process and Reality, p. 147. 

157 



PHILOSOPHY 

It is in loss of such intensities "when things are at cross purposes" 
that evil consists. 1 

In his sketch for a psychological physiology 3 Whitehead has indi- 
cated two main modes of characterizing human mentality: first 
through its relation to the body as its outcome and directive agency, 
second, as "a system of cogitations which have a certain irrelevance 
to the physical relationships of the body." Variety and intensity of 
experience is attained by the occasions constituting a "presiding 
personality ... in the body" partly through the body's complex 
structure the interweaving of its constituent societies so that ^ui 
enormous variety of physical experience may be focussed at certain 
points. Partly the variety and intensity depend upon "canalized" 
mental originality. There is reaction from physical experience, deter- 
mination through ideas made relevant at once through their status 
in the nature of God and through prior prehensions within the living 
personal nexus. As illustrating the nature of this system of cogita- 
tions partially irrelevant to the body's relationships, we may refer 
again to Whitehead's pronouncements on intercommunication 
through language. By that spiritual interaction he has termed the 
"sacrament" of communication "expression proffered by one and 
received by the other"3 the conscious personal nexus is enriched 
beyond anything direct bodily relation could achieve, so that, in a 
sense, the human soul is "a gift from language to mankind."* Within 
communication at its highest power, when through the expressive 
and creative sign a subject becomes aware of a new intuition as both 
his own and another's, the I-Thou relation is realized. My individual 
spirit passes beyond the limits of my own vital station, the body, 
and learns to see body and mind from the standpoint of another / for 
whom I am Thou. From this realization in its countless varied forms 
within our experience we move toward the ultimate intuition of a 
Thou, the supreme limit of our own rationality, within whose vision 
all standpoints are included and brought to harmony. 

"Man has spirit only in that he is addressed by God": "spirit is 
not in the / but between I and Thou." Those who accept these 
sayings of recent theological writerss would claim that in personal 
consciousness thus heightened, raised through the sacrament of 
communication to fresh range and intensity, a new type of order 
appears, through divine action emerging from animal life as animal 
life through such action emerged from the inanimate. 

Religion in the Making (Cambridge, Re-issue, 1930), p. 84, cf. also the 
saying that "God as conditioning the creativity with his harmony of appre- 
hension issues into the mental creature as moral judgment." Ibid., p. 105. 

Process and Reality, Part II, ch. Ill, IX-XI. 

3 Religion in the Making, p. 118. 4 Modes of Thought, p. 57. 

5 Quoted and discussed by John Baillie, Our Knowledge of God (Oxford 
Press, 1939). 

158 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

Finally, we may ask what is the value to us individually of this 
concept we have studied of the Divine persuasion. 

Those who are able to find in the teaching of the Christian Church 
satisfaction both intellectually and emotionally will probably dismiss 
the concept as vague, speculative. To other minds, differently con- 
ditioned, these speculative propositions of Whitehead may offer, in 
his own phrase, a strong "lure for feeling." 

Professor Macmurray, in a letter to Dr. J. H. Oldham concerning a 
question of religious belief, has written: "It is not possible for me, 
n<3r for many of my contemporaries, to believe effectively that Jesus 
rose from the dead in the flesh. ... I realize that the inability 
is not based on evidence, but is the result of the climate of thought 
in which I live. But the conclusion I draw is that I must not assert the 
resurrection as the basis of my faith. The peril of publicly assenting 
to what one cannot believe effectively and practically seems to me 
very great." 1 If we agree with this estimate of peril in asserting what 
cannot be believed effectively, it becomes essential that each of us 
should discover amongst the images and formulae offered to his 
faith that which for him makes possible a belief effective because 
corresponding to what in the depths of his being is believed already. 
The doctrine of the Divine persuasion, as outlined within Whitehead's 
system, seems to me an expression of faith congruous with the 
intellectual climate in which we live, for some of us providing 
just that form of thought needed by our own groping sense of the 
Divine. 

I will try to indicate some of the characters which give this doctrine 
special value in relation to the needs of our time. 

First, as to the term "persuasion": considered apart from its con- 
text in Plato's thought and Whitehead's system, its associations 
might mislead. In our common speech persuasion readily suggests 
modes of subjective pressure applied with irrational urgency. As 
with most of the terms Whitehead bends from common use to the 
purposes of his theory, an effort of dissociation is needed. The term 
must be felt in its new context, with illustration appropriate to it. 
When the thinker has realized, with such vividness as his individual 
resources allow, the order and harmony discoverable within cosmic 
process, amidst disorder and frustration; when he has felt the over- 
powering attraction of such harmony discovered and conceived, he 
is in a position to speak of "persuasion as Plato and Whitehead use 
the term. Then it may appear to him, as to Whitehead, that both "in 
intimate human experience and in general history" the divine im- 
manence is best exemplified in those moments when clashing human 
wills modify themselves to harmony some far-reaching idea, latent 

1 Quoted by Dr. Oldham in The Christian News-Letter, Supplement to 
No. 192, October 6, 1943. 

159 



PHILOSOPHY 

or explicit, organizing conflicting impulses and subduing them to 
agreement. 1 

The doctrine which within historic Christianity presents a per- 
sistent alternative to that of God as persuasive agency, sees in him, 
says Whitehead, "the final coercive forces wielding the thunder. 
By a metaphysical sublimation of this doctrine of God as the 
supreme agency of compulsion, he is transformed into the one 
supreme reality, omnipotently disposing a wholly derivative world." 2 
Omnipotence, ascribed in this sense to God, for many at the present 
day makes impossible effective faith in divine goodness. "If there 
were a God," says the humane revolutionary, Anselmo, in Heming- 
way's novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, "never would he have per- 
mitted what I have seen with my eyes. Let them have God." 
Anselmo's them stands for the Fascist enemy, cruel and blood- 
thirsty in his zeal for religion and claim to orthodoxy. To the Fascist 
enemy, many of us feel, we could well surrender a God whom omni- 
potence made responsible for such things as offend sight and mind 
to-day. Plato's thought, accepted by Whitehead, of God as that 
persuasive agency through whom there is order some degree of 
"aesthetic consistency"3 in the world whose basic constituent of 
formless flux, "creativity," does not originate in him, meets the 
difficulty of those who cannot effectively believe in God as both good 
and omnipotent in the world we know. 

This answer to the difficulty appears more adequate than any 
solution patterned on the myth of the Fall, attributing evil to per- 
versity of human free will. Not human suffering and frustration only, 
but that of the whole animate creation appalls the contemplative 
spirit of our time. The self-centred destructive impulses known as 
sinful in ourselves, however penetrated and heightened by self- 
consciousness, resemble too fundamentally the predatory impulses 

1 Writing in 1931 (Adventures of Ideas, pp. 205-6) Whitehead used as illus- 
tration of response to the divine persuasion the welcome halt in violence 
effected by talks between Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India. He affirmed 
his belief that the religious motive thus exemplified still at the present time, 
though institutional forms of Christianity decay, holds "more than its old 
power over the minds and consciences of men." Our outlook to-day may be 
less hopeful. The ill odour of practices named "appeasement" has infected for 
many the idea of conciliation through reason. Yet the value remains of that 
ideal truly conceived, felt perhaps by some even more poignantly amid the 
terrors of violence uncontrolled. 

The religious thinker seeking present-day illustration of the divine per- 
suasion might choose from the economic field the example of the Tenessee 
Valley experiment, as described in Julian Huxley's T.V.A. (Architectural 
Press, 1943). Persuasion here appears as the gradual triumph over individual 
prejudice of a wide-ranging plan whose rationality is able to convince first the 
few, through skilful presentation, then the many through actual working. 

Adventures of Ideas, p. 213. 3 Religion in the Making, p. 86. 

160 



PHYSICAL AGENCIES AND THE DIVINE PERSUASION 

of animals for us to ascribe their origin to human will. From life's 
first dawn its intensities and harmojiies have contended with con- 
ditions partly adverse to them, adverse therefore to that which 
Whitehead dares to recognize as "the teleology of the Universe," 
or "God's purpose in the creative advance." 

One more character of Whitehead's concept may be briefly noted 
as having special relevance to our time and its problems. We live 
in an epoch of swift change, when much of the social structure that 
had enshrined, for the older among us, our best hopes and affections 
soems crumbling away. Christianity, thought of as an historic in- 
stitution or traditional way of life, fails us. Yet amidst disaster faith 
may be maintained in the continuing action of the divine persuasion. 
"As epochs decay amid futility and frustration," Whitehead has 
written, "as the present becomes self-destructive of its inherited modes 
of importance, the Deistic influence implants in the historic process 
new aims at other ideals." 1 Can this thought console us for loss of 
forms we have learnt to venerate? I think it can, if, with Whitehead, 
we have faith that the new forms are manifestations of the same eter- 
nal values which we in our degree, and those great spirits throughout 
the course of history whose lives still minister to ours, have received 
from God, the source of all order and of harmony among aims that 
differ. 

The concept of the Divine persuasion animating the whole outlook 
to be derived from Whitehead's philosophic writings, the thought 
of our common life as an adventure guided toward harmony amidst 
the conflict and confusion of change, serves for some of us, more ade- 
quately than any other religious image or formula, to sustain hope and 
insight through the dark hours of our present situation. 

1 Modes of Thought, p. 142. 



161 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

DR. ALEXANDER ALTMANN 

THERE are two ways in which Symbol and Myth are related to each 
other. Firstly, a certain class of symbols represents the remnant of 
myths. Such figures as, e.g. the Dragon, Leviathan, etc., which we 
find in Biblical literature, are not used in the full sense of the under- 
lying mythological conception, but in a metaphorical sense. They 
are chosen by the author because of their mythical associations, but 
not in their mythical meaning. Ametaphor of this kind is, as H. J. D. 
Astley put it, "broken-down mythology." 1 There are a great many 
symbols both in poetry and mysticism which must be understood as 
the relics of mythical thought. We owe a great deal to ethnology for 
having thrown light on this relation. The microcosm-macrocosm 
symbolism, for instance, becomes more intelligible if we consider 
that in primitive mythology the world emerged from the body of 
primordial man. 2 The gifts to the dead appear in later forms of 
sacrificial cults as purely symbolical, but there is no doubt that 
originally they were intended for the real use of the dead. 3 In these 
and in numerous other cases the symbol has only a reduced value as 
compared with the original myth from which it is borrowed. It is 
not self-evident, but relies on the mythical conception, without, 
however, taking it seriously. It is "merely 11 a symbol, and has no 
truth of its own. 

There is, however, another way in which Symbol and Myth are 
connected. J. J. Bachofem defined the myth as the "exegesis of 
the symbol/' The symbol, in this sense, is not a late by-product 
of the myth, but its progenitor. The myth only unfolds what is 
inherent in the symbol. 

Both C. G. Jung and E. Cassirer have, in our own generation, 
attempted to give this view of the symbol and its relation to myth a 
new basis, each in his own way, Jung from the standpoint of his 
psychology, Cassirer from a Neo-Kantian viewpoint. What seems to 
be the common denominator of these two interpretations of myth 
and symbol is the fundamentally positive value which both attach 
to them. No doubt, they both are under the influence of that great 
revolution in our estimation of myth and symbol which is the 

* Cf. H. J. D. Astley, Biblical Anthropology, p. 86. 

* Cf. E. Cassirer, Philosophic der symbohschen Formen, II, pp. 115-116. 

3 Cf. Cassirer, loc. cit. t II, p. 198. 

4 Cf. J. J. Bachofen, Versuch iiber die Grdbersymbolik der Alien, Basle, 1859. 

162 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

heritage of the Romantic School. The new interpretation of sym- 
bolical and mythical thinking was inaugurated by Herder, Schelling, 
and their circle; it was further developed by J. Gorres, and cul- 
minated in the Swiss School of late Romanticism, of which J. J. 
Bachofen was the most prominent representative. It is upheld to-day 
by a number of thinkers who follow closely in Bachofen's footsteps, 
such as E. Dacque, O. Goldberg, E. Unger and others. In the present 
article, we shall confine ourselves to an elucidation of the general 
trend of the Romantic view, and the way it is reflected in the thoughts 
of Jung and Cassirer. 

In which way did the Romantic School attach positive value to 
Symbol and Myth? In the first place, it stressed the expression- 
character of symbolic and mythical thinking. The traditional view 
saw in both either a poetical metaphor for some rational idea, or, in 
a pragmatist sense, a useful fiction. Symbol and Myth had no truth 
of their own. They were given the aspect of truth by reason of an 
analogy to something else, be it a moral idea or some assumed his- 
torical happening. This allegorical interpretation, which goes back to 
the Stoics, was completely discarded by the Romantic School. 1 In 
the view of the Romanticists, the creation of a myth was not due to 
an intentional act of an inspired individual, but was the natural and 
unintentional activity of the collective mind. Herder was the first to 
emphasize the two characteristics implied in this view of symbol and 
myth: the unintentional (natural) and the collective. Symbol and 
Myth are not intended to give, in a veiled manner, information about 
something known otherwise, but they reveal the innermost nature of 
a people. They do not copy reality, but they are responses to reality. 
They bear testimony to the impact of the universe upon the mind of 
Man in the mythical age. 

According to the Romantic School the myth is the expression of 
absolute reality. Schelling declares that the deities of mythology are 
but the universe intuited in the form of the particular. The ideal and 
real coincide in the mythological figure. This is the reason why the 
symbol has its place in mythology. The symbol, Schelling defines, is 
the synthesis of type and allegory. It combines the representation 
of the particular through the general (type) and the representation 
of the general through the particular (allegory). In the symbol both 
are one. The symbol is as concrete, self-evident as the image and as 
general and meaningful as conceptual meaning. It is, in the signi- 
ficant German phrase, "Sinn-bild." 2 This identity of the ideal and 
real amounts to the absoluteness of the mythical world. To the 

1 For an exposition and evaluation of the Romantic School, cf . A. Baumler's 
Introduction to Der Mythos von Orient u. Qkzident, ed. M. Schroeter, 1926. 
Cf. A. Allwohn, Der Mythos bei Schelling, 1927, pp. 32-33. 

163 



PHILOSOPHY 

school of early Romanticism symbol and myth had the validity of 
absolute truth. 

J. Gorres went a step further in defining symbol and myth. Where- 
as Schelling and his friends saw in imagination the instrument of the 
mythical mind, he introduced the idea of the unconscious for an 
interpretation of mythical thinking. Gorres described the kind of 
world in which the myths were created. Man was not yet separated 
from Nature and Earth. An umbilical cord still tied him, as it were, 
to the inner life of the universe. His mind was more or less in a state 
of dream, somnambulistic, unconscious. Gorres speaks of the "Cosmfc- 
demonic generations" of the primordial world. In this period, Man, 
himself a symbol of Nature, was thinking in symbols. 1 Thanks to his 
intimate union with Nature, he was able to penetrate deep into its 
mysteries. The myths are the result of his intuitive, unconscious 
insight into Nature. 3 There is one more aspect of Gorres's interpreta- 
tion of mythical thinking. It concerns the significance of mythology 
for the collective group from which it has sprung. Although the 
product of a distant past, the myth never loses its significance for 
the people which gave birth to it. It expresses in an unsurpassable 
manner that which lies at the bottom of the collective soul. In this 
sense, the whole future of a people is determined by the particular 
character of its mythology. The future of a nation is contained in its 
myths, Gorres formulated in a phrase of stupendous depth. Nothing 
can change the fundamental structure of its outlook and character 
as laid down in the great and lasting symbols of its mythology. 3 

J. J. Bachofen approached the world of mythology not so much 
as a philosopher but rather as a historian. He refused to describe 
the mentality of the world in which the myths were created. In his 
view we were too far removed from those ages. Our psychology, he 
felt, was fundamentally different from theirs. He deprecated any 
psychological interpretation of myths such as Nietzsche would 
attempt. He preferred to look at the mythological period not as a 
psychologist, but as a historian who treated the myths as documents 
of the human mind and tried to understand them. He rejected the 
methods of literary criticism for an interpretation of myths. This 
method, he thought, could not be applied to ancient sources such as, 
myths, since our psychological distance from the past made it 
impossible for us to judge from the level of our mentality. We were 
bound to mis-interpret and mis-read. The only true guide and the 
only criterion for the interpretation of myths was a "sense of depth, 
as he termed it, a certain intuitive faculty to grasp the emotional 
and spiritual life behind the mythical symbol. It may be a vague 

Cf. A. B&umler, loc. cit. t pp. 101-102. 

* See also E. Dacque, Urwelt, Sage und Menschheit, 1928, pp. 20-38. 

3 Cf. A. Baumler, loc. cit. t p. 103. 

164 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

term, but Bachofen himself certainly possessed that "sense of 
depth/' which enabled him to interpret symbols and myths, not as 
Schelling did, from the standpoint of an absolutist philosophy, but 
as a "historian." 

Like the Romanticists, Jung stresses the intimate connection that 
exists between symbol and myth. Symbolic thinking is mythical 
thinking. It is one of the characteristics of Jung's psychology that 
in order to illustrate and explain certain products of individual 
symbolism such as occur in dreams he draws parallels from the 
mythical sphere. Whereas Freud tried to explain myths and other 
productions of racial phantasies by reference to individual psychology 
(cf. his Totem and Taboo), Jung attempts "to settle problems of 
individual psychology by referring to material of racial psycho- 
logy/' 1 In contrast to Bachofen, who felt that the discrepancy 
between the mentality of the past and the present ruled out any 
possibility of a psychological interpretation of mythology, Jung 
believes that the same psychological conditions which led to the 
creation of myths are still prevalent to-day. Jung is able to assert this 
possibility because, to him, the unconscious mind is not a matter of 
the past. It is still very active to-day, in fact, it is the decisive factor 
in the psychic life. Jung distinguishes between the Ego as the centre 
of consciousness on the one hand, and the Self as the centre of the 
total psychic life, including the unconscious, on the other. The 
sphere of the unconscious has, in turn, two layers: one of the per- 
sonal unconscious, which is more or less identical with what Freud 
understood by the "unconscious"; it consists largely of material 
which had previously been conscious, but was repressed on account 
of its incompatibility with the demands of consciousness ; the second 
and deeper layer is the collective unconscious. Jung describes it as 
the matrix of all psychic life, including consciousness, the creative 
ground, the source and origin of all meaning. This collective uncon- 
scious is unimpaired by the fluctuations of consciousness, the latter 
being only an ephemeral, epiphenomenal offspring of the collective 
unconscious. The structure of the collective unconscious has re- 
mained unchanged in the course of history, and it is working to-day 
exactly as it worked in the past.* Hence our right to approach the 
past creations of the collective unconscious psychologically. 

What is, then, the primary function of the collective unconscious ? 
Jung's answer is, like that of Bachofen, that it produces symbolic 
images. It expresses itself in the language of symbols. Jung calls 

i Cf. S. Freud, Totem and Taboo (Translated by H. A. Brill), pp. v, xii. 

* Cf. C. G. Jung, Wirklichkeit der Seele, 1934, p. 66; Seelenprobleme der 
Gegenwart, 1932, p. 396. Our exposition of Jung is indebted to K. Kellner, 
C. G. Jung's Philosophie auf der Grundlage seiner Tiefenpsychologie, 1937. 

165 



PHILOSOPHY 

them, in Augustine's phrase, "Archetypes." It is not any easy matter 
to define clearly the meaning of this term. On the one hand, Jung's 
"Archetypes" are identical with what Levy-Bruhl and others under- 
stood by "representations collectives' 1 . 1 They are "the enormous 
spiritual heritage of mankind reborn in the individual brain." 2 But 
Jung emphasizes, on the other hand, that representations as such 
cannot be inherited. All we can inherit is the disposition to produce 
certain representations. Jung calls the Archetypes, in this sense, the 
psychic expressions of anatomical and physiological dispositions.3 
They are obviously not of a spiritual nature, but almost entirely 1 * a 
function of the brain. Jung also describes the Archetype as a union 
of instinct and primordial image. Whether the spiritual or the bio- 
logical factor has priority, Jung leaves undecided. He assigns to the 
image the function of guiding the instinct, but also calls the image 
the self-intuition of the instinct. It seems, therefore, that the emphasis 
lies on the biological side. Like the Romanticists, Jung sees in the 
symbol an expression of the unconscious mind in its original oneness 
with the universe. He actually assumes that certain archetypes Man 
shares with the animal. They are simply an expression of Life itself .4 
From this it would appear that symbolic thinking is essentially 
bound up with the biological function of the Psyche. No clear dis- 
tinction is drawn, anyhow, between the spiritual and the biological. 
Jung's conception of "Libido" points in the same direction. The 
term is used to denote psychic energy.5 This means, in the last 
resort, biological energy as the nature of the collective unconscious. 
As Jung emphasizes, the problem of Life lies in the necessity of 
transforming energy (Sublimation). Psychic intensity or value must 
be continually shifted from object to object according to the neces- 
sities of life, which are ruled by the need for adaptation. To change 
the natural direction of the Libido is a task which the conscious will 
alone is unable to perform. The will only represents that quantity of 
psychic energy which is subject to the control of consciousness, 
because it is the result of a long process of domestication through 
culture and morality. It is, however, insufficient to change the 
direction of unconscious tendencies of the Libido. Here the function 
of the Symbol comes in. Jung formulates, "The psychological 
machine which transforms energy is the Symbol." 6 Again, it is only 
on account of its biological or energetic character that the symbol is 
able to transform psychic energy. 

1 Cf. C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion, pp. 64, 122-123. 

2 Cf. C. G. Jung, Seelenprobleme , etc., p. 175. 

3 Cf. C. G. Jung, Psychologische Typen, 1930, p. 598. 

4 Cf. C. G. Jung, Das Unbewusste im normalen und kranken Seelenleben, 
1926, p. 101. 

5 Cf. Psychol. Typen, p. 645. 

6 Cf. C. G. Jung, Uber die Energetik der Seele, 1928, p. 76. 

166 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

There is a further point which requires attention. Jung defines the 
myth not only as the exponent, but also as a kind of projection of 
the collective unconscious. 1 By projection, he understands the 
"transference of a subjective process to an external object."* A pro- 
jection is possible and natural in the case of an unconscious psychic 
happening. What I am not consciously aware of, is indifferent to the 
distinction of subjective and objective. A person who is unconscious 
of certain complexes in his psyche is apt to project them on to some 
other person. We always find our weaknesses in others. Jung explains 
that the ultimate raison d'etre for the possibility of projection lies in 
the archaic sense of identity between subject and object. Like the 
Romanticists, he holds that the primitive mind lives in a "mythical 
identity," in a "participation mystique" (L^vy-Bruhl) with the 
external world. This unio mystica comes to life again in every act of 
projection. Jung calls the projection of an archetypal image "Imago." 
Thus, for example, the collective image of the Mother is not a copy 
of a real, individual mother, but the archetype of the "eternal" 
Mother which is a category or symbol of the collective unconscious 
and pre-forms every possible experience of motherhood. The indi- 
vidual mother is but the carrier of the Mother imago, which is pro- 
jected on to her, and it is possible that any person might appear in 
the light of the Mother symbol. So far as mythology is concerned, it 
is the sum total of projected images. We may define mythology as 
the expression of the collective unconscious by way of projected 
symbolic images. 

What value does Jung attach to symbolic and mythical thinking? 
Does not the idea of projection imply that the mythical world is 
entirely subjective and unrelated to objective reality? Jung uses the 
conception of the Archetype in a manner which recalls Kant's con- 
ception of the Categories, which predetermine the nature of all 
possible experience and thus constitute the "objectivity" of ex- 
perience. Jung, too, takes the function of the Archetype in the 
sense of a Category. The Archetypes, he says, are the a priori cate- 
gories of every sort of intuition, the mental pre-condition of all 
activities of the unconscious. Even imagination is bound and limited 
by them. That may sound Kantian, but is, of course, a very much 
different idea. It is a return to the psychological notion of an innate 
structure of the mind, but has no relation to the transcendental 
conception of the Categories in the Kantian sense. As we have seen, 
the Archetypes originate from a biological source, from the processes 
of the psychic life. 

Jung feels that despite their psychic origin the Archetypes have 
an objective value. The collective unconscious from which they 
originate is the ultimate reality. Since it combines instinct and image, 

1 Cf. Seelenpr., pp. 165-166. * Cf, Psychol. Typen, p. 657. 

167 



PHILOSOPHY 

matter and form, it is the absolute reality. The structure of the 
World and the structure of the Psyche are identical. Truth is to be 
found in the soul. Out of its depths, God speaks to us. It is, we should 
say, a pantheistic and biological conception of God. The ''integra- 
tion of the personality" and the establishment of the Self become the 
meaning of Life. God and the Self are identical. Symbol and myth 
have objective value, because they help us to find ourselves. The 
romantic idea of "the future of a people contained in its myths 11 is 
echoed in Jung's conception of the Symbol as a "dynamic experi- 
ence" pointing towards the future. Whereas Freud interpreted tile 
symbols, especially dream symbols, as relics of the past, as static 
images and signs which reflect certain repressed tendencies, Jung 
understands the dream symbols as creative efforts of the psychic life 
to express its tendency. Every crisis produces a symbol which points 
the way to a new life. The symbol is not retrospective, as in the case 
of Freud, but pro-spective, "providential." One could say, in varia- 
tion of Gorres, that the future of an individual person is hidden and 
contained in his personal symbolism. 

We tread on entirely different ground when we turn to E. Cas- 
sirer's Philosophic der symbolischen Formen, and yet there is a certain 
amount of agreement between Cassirer and Jung. The common 
ground is the Romantic tradition. It is the achievement of the 
idealist philosophy, Cassirer says, to have done away with the copy 
theory of truth. The fundamental notions of every science are not 
copies of a given reality, but spontaneously created symbols. Corre- 
spondence is replaced by the logical "function." Instead of the 
material unity of the Substance, the functional unity of the Symbol 
becomes the final aim of philosophy. As one sees, Cassirer uses the 
term Symbol in a functional sense. Here he is in basic agreement with 
Jung. But whereas for Jung the Archetypes are functions of the 
unconscious mind, for Cassirer the symbolic function is exercised by 
consciousness. All conscious creations of the mind are symbolical. 
In this sense, Symbol and Myth belong together in the same way as 
Language is symbolical, and Science uses symbols. H. Hertz called 
the conceptions of the physicist (Space, Time, Energy, Atom) 
"Images." Reality can never be expressed otherwise than in symbols. 

Cassirer wants to extend Kant's Copernican Revolution to all 
spheres of mental activities. He sees in Language, Art, Myth, Reli- 
gion and Science the manifestations of the Spirit, each in its own 
way, each as a special idiom of the same language, as a special type 
of the symbolic function. Each constitutes a particular aspect of 
reality. None can be reduced to the other, and each possesses objec- 
tivity in so far as the symbolic function which constitutes it is not 
arbitrary, but 'has a typical structure and meaning. It should be 

168 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

noted that Cassirer calls the symbols created by the symbolic 
function "Signs." All exact thinking he says, rests on the symbolism 
of universal signs. Usually, the term "Sign" is employed in contra- 
distinction to the Symbol. Edwyn Bevan 1 and Georges Dumas, 2 for 
instance, exclude signs from the class of the symbol proper, because 
they bear no analogy to their singificata. Words are classified as 
signs because the sound of a word has, in most cases, no analogy to 
the object. Cassirer includes signs amongst the symbols. Language is 
regarded as the creation of the symbolic function. This is possible 
because Cassirer drops the condition of analogy altogether and 
interprets the symbol in a purely idealist sense. The unity of the 
function guarantees the objective and symbolic character of what 
would otherwise be a mere system of signs without corresponding" 
reality. In E. Husserl's Phenomenology, where there is no room for 
any functional activity, there is likewise no room for the symbol. 
The intuitive act immediately grasps the essence of things and 
values, and consequently there is no use for the symbol other than 
that of a mere sign and substituted To Cassirer, every sign is sym- 
bolical, if it is the product of the symbolical function. 

The great difference between Cassirer and Jung lies in the dis- 
crepancy of their fundamental approach to the problem of meaning. 
It is the difference betwen the psychologist and the idealist. Jung's 
conception of meaning is psychological. He wants to explain the 
processes that lead to a certain mental outlook. He is concerned with 
the genesis of a symbol, and is satisfied that it has meaning if the 
dynamics of the psychic process makes it intelligible. Thus, for 
example, the symbol of the Hermaphrodite has meaning because 
every human being has bi-sexual qualities and tendencies. Or, the 
symbolic rites of initiation which we find amongst primitive peoples 
and in the mystery religions have meaning because they are methods 
of mental hygiene. The symbols of Dogma have meaning because 
the Dogma originated from visions, dreams and trances, and reflects 
the autonomous activity of the unconscious. In its present form, the 
Dogma is the result of the activities of many minds of many cen- 
turies, which purified the original symbols of all oddities arising out 
of individual experience. Jung feels that the symbols produced by 
the unconscious are the only things able to convince the critical 
minds of modern people, because they are rooted in actual psychic 
experience. The abstract idea has no power and no appeal. Again, 
meaning is conditioned by its psychic roots. Cassirer, on the other 

1 Cf. Edwyn Bevan, Symbolism and Belief, 1938, pp. 11-13. 

* Cf. G. Dumas, Le symbolisme dans langue, in Revue Philosophique de la 
France et de L'Etranger, 59, CXVII, 1934, p. 8 ff. 

3 Cf. Edmund Husserl, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology 
(Translated by W. R. Boyce Gibson), 36 and 43. 

169 



PHILOSOPHY 

hand, does not analyse the psychic conditions which underlie the 
sphere of meaning. He takes the finished product and analyses its 
structure. The psychic processes in which Jung is interested may be 
the necessary pre-condition for reaching the level of meaning. The 
unconscious may have a function in this respect. But Cassirer would 
insist that it cannot, by itself, give meaning and purpose to intel- 
lectual activity. 

It follows that mythical thinking has a different place in the 
estimation of Cassirer from that of Jung. Although Cassirer upholds 
the "objectivity" of mythical thinking, he does not put it on the 
same level with scientific and conceptual thought. The human mind 
has definitely outgrown the age of mythical thinking. Jung, on the 
other hand, sees in the rebirth of myth the re-union of Man with the 
ultimate reality of Earth and Nature. In the conflict of these two 
views lies a great deal of the spiritual issue which confronts humanity 
to-day. It is not the purpose of this paper to enter into this wider 
question. There is, however, one point which has a direct bearing on 
our subject. It concerns the relation of mythical and ethical thinking. 

In following Hermann Cohen, 1 Cassirer stresses the fact that the 
ethical outlook of the Prophets of Israel signifies Man's triumph over 
mythology. * The mythical dream world with its collective, demonic, 
and magic approach to the mysteries of Life is superseded by a sense 
of self-conscious individuality and moral responsibility. The I-Thou 
relationship takes the place of the introspective dream world with its 
mythical symbolism.3 Against Renan, who held that mythical 
thinking was entirely absent from the Semitic race, J. Goldziher 
endeavoured to prove that there was a mythological stage in Semitic 
thought as well. 4 But there can be little doubt that whatever the 
pre-historic mental frame of the Hebrews may have been, their 
decisive achievement was the turn towards the ethical thinking in 
terms of the I-Thou relationship. The "New Heaven" and the "New 
Earth" which the Prophets of Israel announced meant the end of 
mythical cosmogony. The mythical motifs notably of Babylonian 
origin which were employed by Biblical authorsS are used in a 
metaphorical sense only (cf. above). The term "broken-down mytho- 
logy" is indeed a fitting description of this kind of figure of speech. 
The latest standard work of Biblical exegesis, B. Jacob's great 
Commentary on Genesis, shows clearly ,that the mythical approach is 

* Cf. Hermann Cohen, Die Religion der Vernunft aus den Quellen des Juden- 
tums, 1913. Cf. loc. cit., p. 152. 

3 Cf . loc. cit. ; see also Nathan Soderblom, The Living God, pp. 265 if. ; 
Martin Buber, I and Thou. 

4 Cf. I. Goldziher, Mythology among the Hebrews (Translated by R. Mar- 
tineau, 1877). 

5 Cf. Hermann Gunkel, Schdpfung und Chaos ^in Urzeit und Endzeit, 1921. 

170 



SYMBOL AND MYTH 

completely discarded and consciously attacked in Biblical thought. 
This does not mean that Judaism has remained entirely immune 
against mythical thinking. In fact, the whole history of the Jewish 
religion and of Jewish philosophical and mystical speculation repre- 
sents a continuous struggle against the mythical elements from 
Babylonia, later from the Gnostic world, which tended to overlay 
its monotheistic and ethical structure. 1 On the whole, Judaism was 
successful in combating the mythical influences from without. The 
prophetic message of social and individual ethics has remained 
predominant in Jewish thought. Christianity bears witness to the 
ethical heritage of the Jewish religion from which it sprang. Our 
Western Civilization is based on this heritage which is being put to 
a new test in our generation. 

1 Cf. G. G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 1941. 



171 



DISCUSSION: The Philosophy of Berirand Russell 1 

This huge book contains essays on various aspects of Mr. Russell's writings 
of the last 50 years by 2 1 different contributors, mostly domiciled in America, 
together with Mr. Russell's comments and explanations. We are told in the 
preface of Mr. Russell's great surprise that over half of the contributors had 
not understood him, and of his feeling that further explanations were not 
likely to fare any better than his books ; and this makes the editor ask whether 
the major aim of this series of "Living Philosophers" is doomed to failure. 
That aim can perhaps be put in the following way. When we study the writings 
of great philosophers in the past, we find it difficult to be sure what they meant, 
and endless controversies of interpretation arise; and we should like to have 
had the opportunity of meeting the philosophers and getting them to settle 
our controversies. When we have a great philosopher alive, then, the Editor 
thought, we might spare later interpreters at least some of their controversies 
by getting him to clear up our difficulties about his meaning. Of the volumes 
in this series, that on Whitehead is the only other I have studied, and in that 
case the aim I think failed; partly because of Whitehead's health, which 
prevented him from replying, and partly because of the large number of 
contributors who wrote about their own views instead of about his. In the 
present book, it can at least be said that all the contributors have genuinely 
tried to write about Mr. Russell's views, and that Mr. Russell has made his 
position on some points more clear. The essays have been arranged by the 
Editor in order from abstract to concrete, beginning with logic and ending 
with history, and in his reply Mr. Russell has dealt with them essay by essay. 
There is a short autobiographical sketch at the beginning, a nearly (but sur- 
prisingly) complete bibliography at the end, and a very full index. Book 
production is admirable. I should not omit mention of the characteristic 
portrait and of the facsimile of the first page of Mr. Russell's MS. The only 
thing lacking is a roll of moving picture film with sound track: posterity 
deserves that. 

Mr. Russell's inquiries have dealt with four main topics, of which the first 
three, logic, epistemology, and ontology, can be described as theoretical, 
while the fourth relates to social problems. There is for Mr. Russell a sharp 
distinction between the fourth and the first three. A person's views on ethics 
result from his desires and wishes, and ethical statements are neither true 
nor false. This does not mean that it is illegitimate to express any views on 
these matters. It merely involves a different technique of expression. Views 
on logic and epistemology and ontology Mr. Russell thinks are hi a different 
case. Here there are at least some disputes which can be settled definitely by 
the production of evidence. Hence he does^tiot regard ethical statements as 
falling within philosophy in the strict sense. "The only matter concerned 
with ethics that I can regard as properly belonging to philosophy is the 
argument that ethical propositions should be expressed in the optative mood, 
not in the indicative" (719). 

I shall not attempt even to indicate the contents of the various essays, 

* The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell. Edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp. 
The Library of Living Philosophers. Volume V. (North-western University, 
Evanston and Chicago. 1944. Pp. xv, 815. Price 305. net.) 

172 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF BERTRAND RUSSELL 

but shall try instead to bring out some of the fundamental points of principle 
that emerge from them. 

The Method of Analysis. Mr. Weitz in his essay on "The Unity of Russell's 
Philosophy" chronicles the different philosophical stations through which 
Mr. Russell has passed in his long journey, but insists that it was always the 
same engine pulling the train. The main points Mr. Weitz makes are (i) that 
the fundamental element in Mr. Russell's philosophy is the method of analysis, 
and (2) that analysis has two forms. The first form of analysis is "real defi 
nition," i.e. the account of some complex situation (whose nature is inde 
pendent of the language we use about it) in terms of its elements, their charac- 
teristics, and the relations between the elements. This Mr. Weitz illustrates in 
detail. The second form of analysis is "contextual definition, and has to do 
with words and phrases (especially words and phrases whose use in sentences 
led to difficult philosophical puzzles)^ and results in the substitution of a 
different set of words and phrases by means of which we can say all we intended 
to say when we used the original words, without being involved in unintended 
perplexities. 

The Theory of Descriptions. A classical example of this is Mr. Russell's 
Theory of Descriptions, dealing with phrases of the form "the so and so." 
This theory doesn't seem to say much or to propound anything startling, and 
an ordinary reader, when he comes across it, may be forgiven for wondering 
what there is classical about it. We can perhaps think of him as making re- 
flections of the following kind: It has been pointed out long ago that if a 
person says "That cow is queer" he may be met with the reply "It is queer, 
but it is not a cow." That is to say, it has always been understood that a person 
could use such a form of words as "That cow is . . ." significantly even though 
he was wrong about its being a cow, and that this form of words could in 
fact be a convenient alternative to the sentence "That thing is a cow" : so that 
the sentence "That cow is queer" could be used conveniently by a person who 
wanted to assert both that that thing was a cow and that it was queer. Simi- 
larly if a person says "The Bismarck is a menace to our convoys" he may be 
met with the reply "It was, but it no longer exists"; and here again it has 
always been understood that a person could use such a form of words as "The 
Bismarck is . . ." significantly even though he was wrong in supposing such 
a thing to exist, the account of this form of sentence being similar to the 
other, except that the word "the" makes it a little more complex: so that the 
sentence "The Bismarck is a menace to our convoys" could be used con- 
veniently by a person who wanted to assert both that there was just one 
thing named Bismarck and that it was a menace. Now, our ordinary reader 
might add, Mr. Russell's Theory of Descriptions does no more than give an 
account of phrases of the form "the so and so" of exactly this sort: all Mr. 
Russell does is to tell us that when we say "The Bismarck is a menace," what 
we mean is (i) that there is a thing named Bismarck, (2) that there is only 
one such thing, and (3) that that thing is a menace : and that three sentences 
to that effect say it much more explicitly than our original sentence. We knew 
all this, our ordinary reader might reflect: what's the big idea ? 

Mr. Moore has devoted his whole essay to this theory, and he regards it as 
a great a^hiev^fflt m T ^Mffiff'B IP rt It is worth while to ask why this 
theory was regarded as important when it was put forward. 

There are various reasons. The first is that Mr. Russell was develoing a 
form of langua^j^icjh^w and^using^^is 

ioj.^^ mudj^morft 

second is ^iatlie was i rajsin,g 



. 



PHILOSOPHY 

a sentence, showing that in some cases words or phrases could be shown to 
have, apart from any particular sentence, the significance they had in the 
sentence, while in other cases this was not possible: phrases of the form "the 
JQ and^so" being t oj i[ i^3bdgj^tter | ldnd 1 The third is that he used his discussions 
about the sijgnincance of phrases^to^^ar^up ong^ 
itis possible ; to ^se B words jrefemSp[^ 

wTJaftver. 5uppos"e^ sen- 

tenced* phrase such as "Thj^j^w^ 

itself. If the Bismarck no Tonger exists, then the phrase seems not to refer to 
anytmng and hence not to have any significance. But then no sentence in 
which it is a constituent could be significant. We could adopt this solution, 
though it would go counter to the ordinary way in which people use language : 
for example, we should have to say that "The Bismarck no longer exists" must 
be a meaningless collection of words. If, however, the phrase is significant 
even in the case where there is no actual object to which it refers, it seems as 
if there must "be" some non-actual object to which it refers. Mr^ Bradley 
and those who agreed with him found no difficulty in accepting the view that 
whatever can be thought or ref erred to in anv way^is^^jg^me^seiige^^though 
they^dicTTSoT^^ ^of the thougfiFor 

feTerenc^^ view that there iTa realm of Being con- 

taining all such entities, and innumerable others, independently of any 
reference to them. Anyone who, like Mr. Russell at that stage, distinguished 
between the act of referring to something and the thing referred to, had either 
to agree with Meinong or to deny that the phrase in question was significant 
by itself. He did the_ latter, and suggested that the&jK&.,m> need to assume 

,, , *? "WWWmr i <IIMI ^**Y*l^qe^W5T^i bh 1 - * wl ^ A 1 " i""**'^*** 1 *'"""**"- --. 

that every constrtuent of a^sigmncant sentejj^^ 

SomlS'us? In the sentence, drawmg^ttentioii to a number of symbols^wxiich 
fieTcallecT ' v ^ij^mj^efie* ^Ytnfio1s f ^ which only get significance through the way 
they are usea in combination with other symbols. 

It was thus. not merely Mr. Russell's ajccjgM&t^sen^^ 



!j problems, that made it important. It exemplif 
clarifying obscure situations, by a particular technique for studying the lan- 
guage whose use gave rise to them; and one of its immediate eflects was to 
sweep out from the universe a vast collection of mysterious entities, no longer 

Mfcutojsjw*"*'* M .,<*, ,.-,'"' <. > -M. t^^fjf. , - MlfT*1irmiM> M'M< i ijii muni mi jj- i_ii'*-H** TrnT ^ n imrmii"** IBI ""' M * B * 1 ^ MI *~*^* 

mdispensable. This instria^i^ 

Beside Mr. Moore's aS3*Mr! J1 WStz > s discussions of this theory of descriptions, 
therejaje two Jn. toestin^^uai^^tiil on* it, one by Mr. Godel (in his article on 
"Russell's Mathematical Logic") who seems to suggest that it is^mo/e 
"realistic'/ than it need be^ since Mr. Russell "o^eT^n^F^hsi3eTTnls^h 
question of t^^nj:erpetation j jafjde 

conventions^ but ram^as ; a jjugsJtip.Ek . Pt>risfei ?Hfl. w JK n 8" ( I 3) anc ^ one ^Y 
Max*"BTack (""Ku^s^iTs"l?nliosophy of Language") who contends that it is 
* 'metaphysically : neutral, * ' because what Mr. Russell offers is merely a transla- 
tion of one sentence into other sentences, and because in verifying the correct- 
ness of his proposed translation there is no need to appeal to any philosophical 
principle, but only to socialfacts ^ concerning the way janguagje m is used (243). 
It is discussea also by MrTTeiDtemS^T^seWs Introduction to the Second 
Edition of The Principles of Mathematics") who argues (158 f ) that while it 
dojes^enabte as golden ^mountains^ and round 

^" """"^' 1 {{"n'e^^ himself seems to uselt in the 



ntroduction to the Second Edition of the Principles of Mathematics, as a 
weapon for an attack on the realism of the First Edition of that book. I have 
not seen this Preface; but if Mr. Feibleman's account of it is to be trusted, Mr. 

174 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF BERTRAND RUSSELL 

Russell holds that the method of analysis can At say rate be a valuable, weapon 
forun^lerrnink^^ and in that sense at least is 

nc^ n^^^ "would not show that the theory is 

not neutral in Mr. Black's sense. 

Mr. Moore's discussion has his usual thoroughness, and raises important 
questions, e.g. how far the theory has to do with sentences and how far with 
propositions; how far such a proposition as "The King of France is wise" is 
the same proposition as "At least one person is a King of France, at most one 
person is a king of France, and there is nobody who is a king of France and is 
not wise" in other words, in what sense the proposition analysed is the same 
proposition as that which the theory gives as its analysis; and how far the 
thf ory can be satisfactorily described as giving a translation of one sentence 
into other sentences. 

The Principle of Logical Constructions. An important principle used by 
Mr. Russell in his role of philosophic barber is one which he worked out in 
conjunction with Whitehead, viz. the principle of logical constructions. Mr. 
Weitz suggests (65) that "Russell means by a logical construction the substitu- 
tion of a symbol whose denotation is given in sense-experience or is continuous 
with and similar to something given in sense-experience for a symbol whose 
denotation is neither given in sense-experience nor is similar to and continuous 
with something given in sense-experience but is postulated as an unempirical 
inferred entity." He proceeds in Section IV of his essay to justify this inter- 
pretation, which he sums up (104) as follows: "This process, whereby empirical 
symbols replace unempirical symbols, has, it seems to me, two distinct parts: 
(i) to detennine ^what are the ulttoatgL-Wholly or partially empirical entities, 
and (2) to defij^J^ ra 
wholly or mrtially^em^ ' B ~~^...- 

This is, i tnnS/an^^ of theprincigle, which Mr. Russell 

formulated in ^^J^l^f 1 ^^sS^^^ n P orar y ^y^shPJiilosopny : " wherever J29.S- 
sible, suGstifute constt^tio^s^out^pf known entities for inferencesToriuiknown 
entities 7^-*---^^'^***^ w '^^ 

The qualification "wherever possible" should not be neglected. For, as 
Mr. Russell says in his reply to Mr. Laird (699), "where a suitable construction 
is possj^Jljj^^ si^^j^sh(^OIiat-"Bae 

supposed inferred ^thj^is^nolt^necessary . . ."; and the qualification leaves a 
loophole^ whicn" is important in view of Mr. Russell's later examination of 
empiricism, for entities which have to be accepted although they are neither 
known nor replaceable by constructions out of known entities. 

On this account given by Mr. Weitz, Mr. Russell makes no comment. It 
seems then to be included in his general statement (686) "With everything 
else in Mr. Weitz 's essay I am in agreement." 

The Principle of Acquaintance. The principle of logical constructions is dis- 
cussed by Max Black in Section C of his essay. Mr. Black suggests in a section 
heading (244) that^his^ grinciple i "relies on'^ Mr. JE^s^ 
that^evejn^gn)^ 

cons^uentswith which we ajre^acguamtjed^" and that apart from this latter 
pnmsiplethef plausibility whatever, however stubborn 

the dislike of merely postulated entities which it expressed. Mr. Russell in his 
jj^^?S,]| : ^ ia ^ ^Ji 86 ^ the Jormer^gri^j^c before ne ,intrp- 

*"** 




-.. 

Tne ^nciple^of acquaintance just quoted comes from The Problems pj 
Philosophy (Problems, p. 91), where it is put in italics as giving "the funda- 
mental principle in the ;Jgggfy| sis of Jprogositjons containing descrij>tions/' [i.e 



PHILOSOPHY 



-mng^ojnej)hra^o "the ^a^^o^J^^Q^lems, p. 82)]. A reader 

wKcT turnsto the ^Prol!fe*msloT ^enli^Giennient as to what is meant by the 
words "proposition," and "composed wholly of constituents with which we 
are acquainted" will find no direct guidance on the former, though he may 
gather (a) on the one hand that if some propositions contain phrases then some 
propositions are sentences of some kind, and (b) on the other hand that 
the kinds of thing with which we are acquainted are "things" such as sense- 
data (colour, shape, hardness, etc.), some things we remember, our awareness 
of being aware, perhaps something we call "I," and some universals (white- 
ness, diversity, etc.) ; so that jfoe c^^j^qejq^o^^ 

for 




whether, in the expression of the principle 

of acquaintance itself, instead of the phrase "constituents with which we are 
acquainted" he should substitute "words, standing for things^ with jffhifih, we 
ajng^jjCj^ainted." In the former case he will be able to avoid taking a proposi- 
tion to be a sentence, and will be able to take it as a complex of "things" such 
as sense-data, memories, universals, etc.; in the latter case the basic principle 
would run "every sentence which we can understand must be composed wholly 
of words standing for things with which we are acquainted." 

The words used on p. 91 of the Problems in defence of the principle, "JK& 
must attach some ineaning to the words we use, i| H wejarejto i spea^ 
and not "^^Krjnr^^TiSSer^^t^ me^^ngjwe^ajtac^^ must be 

srome^ ' ' would seenTt^ 

bility o? this last emendation. Mr. Russell's new ^^^flPftfrfflJjff. his^ reply to 
Mr. Black (695) also lays the stress on "understanding words." but makes tins 

* ***' *w^W>'.* **.. .^WWrf. ***'I>?^K.,Wi*'^^ > *M*^ 

understanding dependent on having noticed features of situations. "The use 
of words which are not learnt through a verbal definition has to be acquired 
as a habit; that is to say, the child has to experience a series of similar cir- 
cumstances accompanied by similar noises. To say that^e can understand 
without acquaintance seems to me equivalent to saying that we can acquire 
a habit without ever being in situations such as would give rise to it." Now this 
passage, if taken seriously, would give the word "acquaintance" a far wider 
and far looser meaning than it had in the chapter in the Problems. "Being 
acquainted with S" would seem to be equivalent to "having been in situations 
which lead to the habit of saying *SV I once overheard one of my very small 
children saying to the other, "Daddy's in a bate, you'd better not ask him 
just now." Mr. Russell's explanation, without,further explanation, would lead 
to the conclusion that she was acquainted with my being in a bate. I think 
Mr. Russell would have to add, if his new explanation is not to let loose a 
flood of nonsense masquerading as understood, that to discover what "S" 
means, we must analyse the situations which led to the habit of saying "S," 
and restrict the meaning of "S" to something in these situations with which 
we can be acquainted in the earlier and narrower sense. But in that case the 
criticism Mr. Black goes on to make is justified, that the alleged grounds for 
the principle merely repeat the principle itself. 

Anyhow, Mr. Black rejects the principle. |^SfajSfiEttS^teL{iffi 
principle that any word (or symbol) we _. 
mdLcate somelj^^ 
sucli wor^rSn3 > "Be u ^aiKues against this. His main point he does not stop to 

^ 




uai tiiia. AXIS xuaiu. piuu.1, UK vivrca juui avup iu 

rated, in conncMoj^^^ 

^tKyW;^ 

^me^ar!^ 



THEPHILOSOPHYOFBERTRANDRUSSELL 

in terms of the basic experiential terms of the theory. This does not render 
them undefined, in a wide sense of that term, since the mode of introduction 
of the auxiliary symbols into the system provides both for their syntactical 
relations with associated symbols and for inferential relations between the 
sentences in which they occur and the 'primary* observational sentences of 
the system" (250). He gives as examples., tejrns such as^en^rojgvJJ^a^d 
"energy^ and sees nol^SSolTwK^^ 

speech shol^^^T^e^Trealie^in this wa This point is made alsoTbyTtlr. 
IfTa^TM^TwitKTe^l-ence" {o Carnap^s" papers on "Testability and Meaning" 
in the Journal of the Philosophy of Science for 1936 and 1937. 

The Primacy of Sense Experience. -In his interesting, essay on "Russell's 
Philosophy of Science" Mr. Nagel discusses among other things this question 
of the primacy of sense-experience. Mr. Nagel can seejno r grjoujn > $j[Jpr holding 
either that sense-ex perj^nces, are psychologically nrimftjjvfi^ 1 ' that statements 
directly arising out of them .a^c u o^ Nor can he 

aM?U I Mr. J^uss^TTs j^ncipl^ a.,, process 

which is riot logical^ any^ of the jiata 

ta^n^^^emjeives. Further he shows that Mr. Russell himself accepts certain 
"data which involve an element of interpretation and inference ; and he asks, 
"If our actual data involve an element of 'interpretation* and 'inference/ how 
in principle can we exclude physical objects as objects of knowledge on the 
ground that physical objects involve an element of 'inference'?" (335). The 
primary fault Mr. Nagel finds here is Mr. Russell's association of psychological 
and logical primitiveness. Mr. Nagel's discussion on these points reinforces 
Mr. Black's criticism of the principle of acquaintance. 

Mr. Russell and Science. Mr. Russell agrees that we all do believe that 
more is present tjmiijgrejexpierignce when we see a table, though he can't j ustify 
this beliefr^nd though ^ftJ],QJ,ds WR .never t cajn^e ,sujEfe JKfe jio see a tab).e . Mr, 
Black along with other contributors criticizes Mr. Russell for not being sure, 
while on the other hand Mr. Russell criticizes Mr. Reichenbach (who writes 
on "Bertrand Russell's Logic") for being content with something which does 
not claim to be "knowledge" at all. Mr. Reichenbach holds that the evidence 
of our present experience together with our reports of past experience is 
never such as to justify any claim that wejknpw what will happen; he holds 
rather that our evidence justifies us in making a more or less confident bet 
(which he calls a "posit") on the situation. If so, Mjusseli replies, our pre- 
dictions are no better in^principle jhan those of an astrologer. We need~more 
than this. If a" "system" of posits" is to be a good "tool for predicting the 
future," he argues, "the future must be such as it predicts" (683). By this I 
take it he means that we cannot avoid committing ourselves to claiming that 
we know, even though we cannot be certain. Or if you like, that we must make 
assertions, and^npt merely bets. Mr. Russell adds, "I do notice any way out of 
a dogmatic ass^rt^p^ ^bat we J' 
' 



the only alternative^is' to throw o^^alnffit^ 
owledffi fey science^SS' common sense." 
This quotation r^\^^S r d? !Wr!~Kussell's fundamental convictions. I can 



bring out its significance best by reference to his reply to Mr. Weiner's paper 
on "Method in Russell's Work on Leibniz." Mr. Russell believes in science as 
firmly as Leibniz believed in God. I have never been able to see that he had 
good grounds for regarding Leibniz as insincere in this matter, and I can see 
no reason why a future historian who agrees with Mr. Reichenbach should not 
have similar (and equally bad) grounds for regarding Mr. Russell (in the words 
Mr. Russejl uses about Leibniz) as "insincere towards himself as well as towards 
the public" (696), as having "moments of insight which he felt to be incon- 

M 177 



PHILOSOPHY 

venient and therefore did not encourage' 1 into what he believed about science. 
For there is no doubt I think that it is only a dogma which keeps Mr. Russell 
from Mr. Reichenbach's position. 



Perhaps Mr. Russell { is L right in fimly^^dieving^much, ^e, fr^frnot hope jfco 
Einstein (ago) "cEiSea t Ey^ntlyior " the pact intellectual conscience 



which shines through between the lines" of the Inquiry into Meaning and 
Truth. I am not sure just what he means by this, but I conjecture that he 
thinks Mr. Russ^lLiajmeggfcjfr^ 

calls ^concegts^ "I am convinced/' says Einstein (287) in his essay on 
^Russell s Theory of Knowledge/' "that . . . tl^gjg^cepte , 



and in^our li^^Jioj^xpressio^ viewed logically ie 

free creations of thought which cannot ioductiy e]v, , ,bg jgai ne^ i f rorn ^ense- 
and he goes on" "to spealc "of the "gulf- logically unbridgeable 



which^ separates the world of sensj^jexp^iei^ 
ai^pmpoSSons . ' ' >~*u*>*^*^- ** 

simplify the ordering of sense-experiences. To 



say, under the influence of Hume, that * 'all those concgBts _ and propositions 
which cannot be &rivedJrQm,tte r $^ 

'^el^^sjcal' ^character, to J&jemove^jfe^ * s to g* ve a wrong 

criterion for their use. The only criterion Einstein would apply is that of the 

J By -lH *.^M-** ..,,,.- *J^W^^^,**t-^Mw f ^W'"*tt.' I -*** r -' 

successful ordering oj[ sense-ex^oraeBuggs IjUQH&JU^CfiWf^^ 
propositions ^of the conceptu^J^ system, with the proviso that the system 
"shoulcTshow as much unity and parsimony as possible." 

AU this is closely connected with Kaj^^yiew^^ though without Kant's 
belreTiKsrrSH^^^ for the building up of knowledge. 

Einstein merely puts this view and does not develop it, so that it is not clear 
whether he holds that the^e jmght^be a variety oj t op^cept^ 
succeeded m incor^orapi^sen^ $ie_ ''requisite^ jonit^ .ajg^d 

f$&^^ is a 

variety of systems on which you can make a good map of a particular district, 
so that there would not be only one unique system, which could be called the 
true one, though all the systems would correspond with one another. 

l^e view as to wha concjpjt^^ and his 



suggestion seems to be that the Inquiry shows signs that 



sejises to let him dp sq, 

* r. KusseU ^takesup Einstejn/s^ poi^fe.ij^g.t thg sgngg 



or at any rate not taught to schoolboys : but none of 
this is incompatible with what Einstein says. 

Science and Epistemology. Mr^ager^ 

forcjari^^ for bringing OTrTthTway 

iSTwE^Kms epistemological problems arise (700 f). The following points emerge. 

(i) It is common sense to believe that what4physicists agree in asserting is 
likely to be approximately correct. 

(ii) But while physicists are competent to make approximately correct 
assertions, they are not competent to say what precisely they are asserting. 
That is^he business of philosophers. 

(iii) For example, physicists not only make some prophecies which can be 
verified. From the general laws they enunciate, many consequences can be 
deduced, some of which cannot be verified; and this raises the question, in 
what sense, jf at all, .do they hold that the statements about unverifiable 

178 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF BERTRAND RUSSELL 

consequences are true ? Or, in Mr. Russell's language, what precisely are they 
asserting "in outline" ,iS^te ^U9jbsprA^able facts? 

(iv) 'inis last question is the onST we have to start \vi c h, if we assume that 
what physicists assert is true. One of the first points we can make is that 
physicists no longer suppose that "there are persistent pieces of matter, 
moving in three dimensional space" which exist whether they are perceived 
or not. The old physicists who supposed this were using the common-sense 
notion of a thing; but the new physicists' conception of a four-dimensional 
manifold of events does not require the dbmmon-sense notion of a thing. 

(v) The fundamental task of physicists is to discover principles (causal 
laws) from which, with statements about a certain region or regions of space- 
time, we can infer statements about other regions of space-time. These laws 
are such as, for all practical purposes, (a) to assume continuity, (b) to make 
probable determinism, for all macroscopic phenomena, including living as 
well as dead matter. 

(vi) In such a world f can there be any such occurrence asJ^perception" is 
J^JEES^^ Whatjrelation have 

sucJi^ th&SHJ 1 ? *""'**"-'* * , 

(vii) Mr. Russell holds that "seeing the sun" is an event causally connected 
with other events, and he finds it difficult to see how anyone could question 
this. He holds also that the event described as "seeing the sun" can be cor- 
rectly so described only if there is a causal connexion of a special sort between 
the sun and the event. For if physics and physiology are to be trusted, when 
the event occurs there often is this connection, and again the event can often be 
prevented from occurring by breaking the connection, and finally (which 
clinches the matter) when the event occurs without this connection we can't 
describe it correctly as "seeing the sun." 

(viii) This does not rj^ean that when I see the j>un what I see js thejmn. 
Itjs a raistaJteTo jsupp^^ sun'^TnToTvpTa distinction 

Iretween^ J5^tite^2JS?.* The 

pSroem'ng and the perceivi^ are identicalTl-Tis lin event in my brain. The 

jgBMiniMi Uii jjjtfiBitirTiM^^ m JttMyvMWfMifer-, - ^ManiniiiinimtrniMiiim! innm m m n niftm >r mnmr-if 

causally connected set of events in the sun occurred about eight minutes 
earlier: the silver shape I see is the later event in my brain which I call "my 
seeing the sun." And there J r sjio^e^ that 

ther > e mi is iiir 3J^ sj^aj^Q JtesliWfi^-tbs ,t ^Sk.jSycnTs . 

Physics holds that the sun has no colour. I must then either deny physics, or 
deny that I see the sun, or deny that I see something silver: and Mr. Russell 
denies the second alternative. 

"What I See is in My Brain." This leads Mr. Russell to explain just what 
he means by saying that what he sees Js in his brain; for he says, "1 have not 
so tar found any pmlosopnerwno knew what I meant Ly this statement" (705). 

A piece of matter, we are told, is a system of events. Events have spatio- 
temporal position in virtue of their causal relations. Certain sets of events 
have spatio-temporal relations of such a sort as to make them "members" 
of a "point," or perhaps of a "minimal volume." A piece of matter is made up 
of parts or "-portions" or "members"; the "portions" or "members" of a piece 
of matter are points or perhaps minimal volumes, and it is important not to 
confuse this statement with the statement that the "members" of a minimal 
volume are events. Events are members of points or minimal volumes; points 
or minimal volumes are members of pieces of matter. Events are not members 
or portions of pieces of matter. 

This is somewhat perplexing as it stands, for it seems to be in virtue of 
spatio-temporal relationship that events are "members" of points or minimal 
volumes, and also in virtue of spatio-temporal relationship that points or 

179 



PHILOSOPHY 

minimal volumes are "members" of a piece of matter; and it does not seem 
easy to distinguish the two kinds of spatio-temporal relationship. Nor does it 
seem easy to see why the same word "member'* should be used in the case of 
both relationships. 

The view does not become clearer, but rather more perplexing, when we 
consider its application to what I see. According to Mr. Russell (a] mv seeing 
is identicaljffith whaMjsee, (b) gh^sj^^JJ;^^ 
iSTKKjA^ jcgauhiajn. 

**T^rsonallvJ[^o r i^^ and for |a smglereason, viz., that 

when in the course of my ordinary g^tivitiST' a^sai<Tt^ around 

me, what is being referred to as my seeing cannot be described as a single 
"event," "my having a visual percept." Nor is there literally any single event 
capable of being so described occurring in me. Physiology may show that 
there is some brain process in the absence of which I shall not see anything; it 
cannot show that all other bodily processes can be dispensed with, ^sfroulflsav 
that when I see the silver disc I refer to the^sun, tjffifej^,,gf^ ^ 



i 

But suppose Mr. Russelfs" viewsTKere* H6e* a<2cepfec(T My seeing the sun 
becomes, on his theory, a member of a point or minimal volume which is itself 
a member of my brain. What I see, on his theory, is my entire visual field at 
the moment (or short duration). It contains tree-like, flower-like, sky-like, sun- 
like, etc., colours and shapes arranged in a two (or three) dimensional whole. 
Now this two (or three) dimensional complex, which on Mr. Russell's vipw is 
literally what I seefor only Just ,before Jhejtoldjis ^%j&S> $ ou ? an< * 
sKapes, "nSrTables and suns is apparently also on hls^vl^wTitgraily the e*vent 
<&twv~"~7,-**^ **.-*., ^jftrK^rrvf***'!.^ *-*-:.**- -*** i'"""-*u j i-i. 
described as "my seeing wnatTI see. Now there might be some plausibility 

in tfie view that my seeing as an event is located in a point or minimum volume 
of space-time. But I find it rather difficult to regard my visual field as located 
there. Further, Mr. Russell says (706) "there is one^gaj^^thje^ghysical world 
which we know otherwise than through physics", namely that partln which 

flWMMN^M^flttrMMr i W.*'^'\ l ***W**' >*<VimOT'<U'Mii'VM^.^.)f:. Y &*~ ***MiwWW*W** ... ***. **W-4P,. 1Bw 

our tnougits^anajteelings are situated. Here again there would be some 
ptaTislDlEty In fEe^view tKafT iF^T recognized a particular part of my brain 
as the part in which my seeing was taking place, that would (in some sense) 
justify me in saying that I knew something about that part of the brain. But 

lJ<JSJS2^^ a^JSSJSSfiJfr 

formation about thisjjart of my brajji. 

^TzJ/o ^nses^o^T^VenJMte^^l^urther points in Mr. Russell's attitude to 
science come out very clearly from what he says in his reply to Mr. Stace 
(who writes on "Russell's Neutral Monism"). Answering an accusation of 
fraudulence, Mr. "Rrissen cfc^ngi][i^ 



said to^be^^srjjS^&fe" ^ n the first senjre an e^ 
TfrlffiirsensO^ 




e^&j^ij^ 
?T*suppose, to enunciate a's'et of gSieraTlaws of such a kind that 



with their help, from whajLjpeoole naY^fffiffilif^r'Ml^^ 

^Q^ needing to suppose that anything exists that no- 



body has exj^nenced or ever will experience. 

But he does not think anybody could seriously believe th 
\yould ^e_^oinplete. We all do suppose much more to exist. 

^jjKJtr pQ^i^lg K Y tli.?,.j;SflffiflLl^ J.fi^^-mi 

one ( ^j^uaUY__will i ^'^fflpe;' and evervbodv does ' believe ISat things exist 




__ 
which are not "verifiable" in the first sense. The sense in which the word 

180 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF BERTRAND RUSSELL 

"verifiable" is ordinarily used in science is wider. In this wider sense an entity 
is said to be "verifiable" if it is. inferred in ccorn^e with the recogmzec^canons 



of scientific ^cfoj^Land Mr. Russell is prepared to cut out from ms wond 
wjj^nmg^unve^in^LGle' in this second sense, but not anything unverifiable in 
the first sense. 

L no defence for 



-,^^^*^ --------------------------- not be a valid 

reason Tor ceasing to believe in science ; itisjrather an indication of a short- 

""" " 



istemological Order. This epistemological theory is most fully expounded 
in the Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. This book is dealt with in two papers, 
one by Mr. Ushenko ("Russell's Critique of Empiricism") who rightly regards 
it as fundamentally concerned with the points in which a strict empiricist 
theory fails to justify all the beliefs all of us want to hold, and as asking what 
is the minimum alteration we must make in empiricism if we are to justify 
these beliefs; and the other by Mr. Chisholm ("Russell on the Foundation of 
Empirical Knowledge' 1 ) who equally rightly regards the notion of epistemo- 
logical order as central in Mr. Russell's theory of knowledge. Both these papers 
Mr. Russell praises highly, and in his reply to Mr. Chisholm he develops his 
ideas on epistemological order, defending his view that some of our beliefs are 
more fundamental than others, in the sense that we accept the latter because 
we accept the former. 

In particular, in regard to physics, he has an argument (713) to show why 



' ' P erc Gpts_should be trea^^^ 

great interest"" 'andTSrmgs out clealtl^r^Eeiiati of the task Mr, Russell has 

-^tL'^^^matmtM *MUHV*#*,V n*^********^ w **> w ;v*w,-v^ M v*i^^' 



Tnesituation Mr. Russell proceeds to picture can be put quite generally. 
Let us look at it for a moment independently of his argument. If we mark off 
a volume of any size or shape anywhere in the universe, we can divide all events 
into those inside this volume and those outside. Ljgtjugjjojj^^ 



being whose infon < r^^o^^jenirel.y derivej^frorn^^ej:^^ 

Then*anyTLimvcrse whateverw^ with his information, pro- 

. vided it contained as a part the events inside the volume. (This is a modern 
version of Hume's difficulty about induction.) A universe which contained no 
events beyond those inside the volume would be compatible with his informa- 
tion. All human beings are in a position of this sort, even from the common- 
sense point of view, so far as events in the universe beyond the stratosphere 
are concerned. The sky might be the limit. Now the world of scientists and 
.instruments and varied happenings furnishes so many laws within the volume 
to which they are restricted for their information, that the suggestion (for 
which, of course, there could be no direct proof) that there are events outside 
obeying the same laws, often enables very precise statements to be made about 
events outside; as in the case of Galileo's observations with telescopes or 
Newton's calculations about gravitation, or modern spectroscopic work on 
the elements in the stars. If the events within their volume gave them no laws 
at all of a kind that they c/>uld apply to events outside, either they would 
be unable to find any reason for supposing there were any events outside or 
they would have to fall back on laws they were convinced held, although they 
could not justify their conviction. 

Let us now come back to Mr. Russell's use of the illustration. An individual 

f^an bfrinp^depen4s T f or all his information i a^ut t wtot is a^ctually' happening, 

^ Russell seerns^ t j^sjinie'^ 3Jj$)^^ 

by the events^ #,fllfc,fiYJBft1a V n 

which he hasjffilrefy fo^ tody ^ what 

Mr. Russell said about tn'e location of oerceots in the brain is taken into 

181 



PHILOSOPHY 

account, the individual is niorejogrrowlyirestricjjjed. ^jg JfflHMUy VO 1 ""^. JQJ 
evenJLs^sjSo^^ 

Tins illustration makes more vivid what Mr. Russell means by speaking of 
percepts as epistemologicaliy prior to things. It also brings out the funda- 
mental problems of principle which his doctrine of the epistemological priority 
of percepts raises for him. For the illustration is an illustration only if the 
laws of physics and physiology are accepted. 



ts^be Jpcated witj^jin^j^^ljtgicjy, anymore Jjarro wjy^^ 

'tj. And the difnculty*7s~ThaTli^^ assumes 

as Mr. Russell does that his percepts are his fundamental source of informa- 
tion about what happens, he will have to admit that the only events he has, 
experience of within his volume are his percepts, whereas the laws of physics 
and physiology seem to refer to events outside his volume that are not percepts. 
So that he can only hope to use his information about what occurs within his 
volume as a means of inferring events outside his volume, if he can assume 
that events that are not his percepts are subject to the same laws as his 
percepts; just as scientists can hope to use the information about what happens 
on the earth for inferences about what happens in the heavens only if they 
can assume that heavenly bodies obey the same laws as earthly ones. And to 
succeed fully he must show that the laws he derives from his percepts are the 
same as the laws of physics and physiology. 

^e Difficulty ^ can ^^jbjn^three^ways : can an individual infer events that 
are notTTs percepts from his percepts? or: Can he infer unobserved events 
from his observed events? or: Can he infer events where he has no brains 
from events in his brain? It is the same difficulty, however we put it. 

The first two ways of putting the difficulty show why, as Mr. Russell says 
in his reply to Mr. Laird (who writes on "Certain of Russell's Views Concerning 
the Human Mind") he is increasingly , t &ubiectivist in his epistemology ; the 
third way suggests why he is increasingly materialistic in his ontology. 

All Mr. Russell can do at present is to hold on to the laws of phvsics and 

WBjiMHna.lV ^ , v JT ,,,,.. ^ , , . , k *,..., , . * r * -r. . a* H , .*!. * . ,,,, t , 

psychology, while sticking to his difficulty. This comes out in his reply to 
Mn Bobdin ("Russell's Metaphysics' '\ ' Hjsjranfo-a.1 problem becomes. _ Cap 
epistemological principle which wilL jusif y^pur reliance^ JJHI 



wefinjl^ ^any epistemological principle which wilL jusif y^pur reliance^ JJHI 
sci <^nce ? Our percepts ma^bej)j^j^ infc^rrn^io^about 

what h appSs, tiut tEere may be in a33rfion general^rTnciples which do not 

*W IK >l>"**Mae*+ 7-^- *'-.** H" 1 "-" X s ' wi 4- -*-- v *-->*. *" ^vi."P- ' ^k* **J t,<J*>*^ ^v^'^iuauaH^^f * #*>*** 

oegena ic^mei^u.s.jti^catipn on our percepts,, which w^^i^ernajp^orjmilajte 
* 



- . 

. n our percepts,, 

a* way that we are k j;ea3y to believe tb|m,.Qn, th^jr p 
* 



[jy ill justify 'science. Mr. Russell's search continues. 

The illustration makes clear also, I think, why so many critics regard as 
the primary error ^e J^w J:ha^nL^ as 

Events witmn his body, are in er>is m t i ejy^ to^ all his otherinj^ma- 

tlOnT TnlC'T^RmkT is the flip Ha mental rrrfirjsm nf Mr 1^, r."*Rrnwfr, the title 

oTwhose essay "A Logician in the Field of Psychology" indicates his further 
conviction, that Mr-JRusselTs logic has been a^misleadingf ftuide in episte- 
mological and pgycliological inquiries. .jprnfessnr Brown, whose death before 
his paper went to press his friends will mourn, r was a man of great charm and 
sincerity, a sensitive and vigorous personality. 

The second part of the volume is concerned with Mr. Russell's views on 
ethical, religious, social, political and economic, educational, and historical 
questions. These views are a part of his biography, but he does not regard them 
as a part of his philosophy. The essays, by Mr. Buchler, Mr. Brightman, Mr. 
Lindeman, Mr. McGill, Mr. Bode and Mr. Hook are full of interest, and the 
replies enable Mr. Russell to give in brief compass his opinions on a wide 
variety of topics. To deal with them adequately would demand another 
review. L. J. RUSSELL. 

182 



NEW BOOKS 

Does It Follow? By MEYRICK H. CARRE. (Nelson. 1944. Pp. xiv -f 152. 53. net.) 

Does It follow is a short, non-technical work, chiefly consisting in material 
drawn from various speeches and writings, for practice in logical thinking. 
The author's own exposition is limited to the Introduction and Part I, which 
contain his account of the purpose of the book, some advice to the novice 
for the logical analysis of passages for criticism, and his own implied theories. 
Part II contains 200 easy examples, mostly only a few lines in length. Part 
III contains sixty more advanced examples, ranging from a few lines to a 
page and a half in length. Part IV contains ten much longer examples, most 
of which occupy about four pages. The source or the nature of the source is 
stated at the foot of each example. 

On p. 17 the author claims that "anyone can see an error in thought if it 
is put simply enough." This suggests that all we require for training in critic- 
ism is practice in the analysis of particular passages, and that generalization 
and theory are unnecessary. He is emphatic about the importance of simpli- 
fication, to the extent of distinguishing first the assertion intended, and then 
the bare argument put forward in support of it. However, he does not explicitly 
disparage theory, but on the contrary hints in the Introduction (pp. ix-x) 
that the eventual purpose of practice in logical criticism is to "enable us to 
grasp the principles of rational and cogent discussion." But on the whole 
he seems a little dubious as to the necessity of a theoretical exposition of his 
conception of "thinking." 

Some sort of definition of thinking would seem to be necessary, for other- 
wise we are left in obscurity as to the type of error which the author wishes 
to exemplify and criticize. Is he speaking of errors in pure reasoning? Is he 
speaking of indisputable or indubitable errors, whether from faulty reasoning 
or from some other cause? Or does he also include "errors" which merely 
seem to Mr. Carr6 to be obviously errors? Presumably he would not inten- 
tionally include "errors" of the last type, for which no objective criteria were 
available. But he does seem ambiguous in his conception of thinking, and in 
his consequent conception of mistakes in thinking. This should put us on our 
guard lest any "errors" of the last-mentioned type should be included un- 
wittingly. 

Little harm would be done if it were merely a matter of refraining, at a 
certain stage, from further technicalities. Everyone has, at some point or 
other, to decide upon the expediency of entering into greater detail. But we 
shall see that much more is involved. In some places, for instance, the author 
uses terms suggesting that thinking is a matter of arranging, the question of 
proficiency being foremost. Naturally, if this were all, it would be only by a 
figure that we could speak at fell of errors in thought. Strictly there could only 
be similarities and contrasts between different people's ways of thinking, 
and "criticism" would be nothing more than disagreement. We must presume 
that the author of a book about errors believes that errors exist and that 
there are, in principle, objective standards for detecting them. However, the 
need to be at least conscious of such objective standards (whether formulated 
or not) is obscured by this juxtaposition of a subjective conception of thought. 

At the outset of his suggestions for analysis in Part I, Mr. Carr6 does well 
to distinguish between conclusion and argument. To criticize a passage one 

183 



JP Jtil JLUbOfH Y 

must know what its author intends to claim (viz., his conclusion), and the 
means he employs to support his claim (viz., his argument). Already in the 
Introduction a further distinction had been suggested, viz., that between 
premises and argument: on p. xi appears an important description of the 
nature of argument, viz., "our power to perceive the relation between premise 
and conclusion/* while on p. xiii is developed a contrast between "facts," 
"knowledge," "information," etc. (viz., premises) on the one hand, and 
''logical processes," "method," etc. (viz., argument), on the other; and while 
. admitting the importance of the former, Mr. Carre implies that his own concern 
is with the latter. But he does not seem to think it necessary to distinguish 
argument from premises in particular examples, for he makes no mention 
of this distinction in developing his method in Part I . He seems quite content 
with the distinction between conclusion and argument. The practical result 
seems to be that he seriously confuses arguments with their premises. Hence, 
although his definition of reason on p. xi is promising, in practice he makes 
room for processes of thought lacking objective tests, and such cannot be 
pronounced unequivocally correct or erroneous. 

It is in the discussion of evidence more than anywhere else that the door 
is thrown open for a serious lapse from objectivity. In the text evidence 
is treated as referring to the matter of observation, supposed present in 
someone's experience, and ascertainable apart from any propositions making 
the evidence explicit. But then the reasoning cannot be made explicit 
either, for reasoning begins only with specific premises, and moreover 
is determined by the premises qua propositions, and not qua expressing a 
certain kind of experience such as the observation of evidence. If we 
presume to pass straight from such evidence to the conclusion (viz., to the 
proposition for which the evidence is taken to be evidence) the reasoning itself 
cannot be disentangled from the experience of cognizing evidence. The failure 
to distinguish argument from premise thus involves the failure to distinguish 
reasoning from an unexpressed cognitive experience. Now a reasoning process 
possesses, in the Laws of Thought and other principles, clearly definable and 
objective criteria whereby errors of reasoning can be detected. But a process 
of cognition preceding formulation is not open to judgement, in regard to its 
correctness, by an objective standard, for the simple reason that it is essen- 
tially subjective. The amphibious process classed as thinking by Mr. Carre 
would evidently be infected with the same subjectivity. In some cases of 
cognitive experience, e.g. in the estimate of the number of an observable 
group (see examples, pp. 29-30), there appears to be community of experience 
and therefore a common standard (viz., by counting, in the case of estimating 
numbers). But in others there is no such community, and certainly in these 
cases there can be no presumption of objectivity, since the only ground for 
such a presumption is agreement and evident community of experience. 
Criticism, in these cases, implies a vicious circle. Unfortunately Mr. Carre 
shows, by his example on p. 33 and by many others, that he does not restrict 
himself to cases in which there is an undisputed criterion. On the contrary, 
the critical remarks preceding and followingothis example directly indicate 
principles of a subjective and debatable character. "The rest of our know- 
ledge," "new," "abnormal," "supernatural," are all terms possessing a 
different content for different individuals. Mr. Carre himself puts a special 
interpretation upon them in the act of taking them to be objective. He can 
hardly avoid doing so, having in principle allowed cases in which a truly 
objective criterion is lacking. Therefore we can by no means conclude that 
the fallacies he alleges are real. All we can conclude from an examination of 
these cases is that Mr. Carr6 has a bias in favour of positivism. The presence 

184 



NEW BOOKS 

of a bias is subtly if unintentionally concealed , for the confusion admitted by 
his method allows an arbitrary premise (e.g. "that supernatural hypotheses 
are pure speculation' 1 ) to acquire the prestige of a logical certainty; it there- 
fore allows a disagreement with someone's premises to be mistaken for an error 
in that person's reasoning. 

Now Mr. Carre professes to be concerned with errors of reasoning, so he is 
scarcely justified in searching among premises (expressions of cognition) for 
the type of error which he professes to detect. His only recourse is to deter- 
mine whether any of the principles of reasoning have been violated (e.g. the 
Laws of Thought). We have seen that he fails so to limit his procedure on 
account of his failure to distinguish argument from premise. But neither has 
he* distinguished between indisputable and arbitrary grounds, and so he 
cannot isolate even such statements as are indisputably erroneous. (The latter, 
comprising errors of cognition as well as errors of reasoning, could conceivably 
be classed as errors of thinking.) All we can expect of his method, therefore, 
is the isolation of a class of errors, including three undistinguished types, viz., 
errors of reasoning (indisputable), indisputable errors of cognition, and disput- 
able "errors" of cognition. Evidently criticism can be trustworthy only if it 
avoids the imputation of "errors" of the third type. This seems to be the thought 
of all those who elect to concentrate upon errors of reasoning or thinking, and 
not upon errors in general. The fact that so many of these well-intentioned 
authors omit to make the requisite distinction is, to say the least, disquieting. 
Judgements formulated direct from experience constitute material (for analysis) 
of quite a different order from that oifered by reasoning from specific premises 
to a conclusion. 

The three above-mentioned types of "error" actually occur undistinguished 
among Mr. Carr6's examples, and it must be concluded that he falls short 
of his objective in practice as in theory. Examples of the third type are 
naturally determined by Mr. Carre's particular bias, i.e. they are offences 
against positivism. Among the first twenty (Part JI), of which the author 
gives his own analysis in the Appendix, Nos. 2 and 13 are of this type. It is 
plain that, to many of a different way of thinking, neither these nor the example 
n P- 33. nor several of the others cited, would contain errors in thinking. 
Nor does there appear to be any objective means of settling the ensuing 
difference of opinion, since the alleged mistakes occur within individual 
minds prior to expression in determinate propositions. Lacking any objective 
test, Mr. Carre seems unconsciously to be applying the converse of his dictum 
that anyone can see an error in thought if it is stated simply enough, viz. he 
is assuming that if an error is sufficiently obvious (i.e. to him) it must be an 
error in thought. 

The position in regard to examples 2 and 13 seems to be as follows. Mr. 
Carr6 is convinced a priori that the conclusions are certainly mistaken. To 
account for the mistake in the conclusion he then looks for a mistake in the 
"argument" (in which both premises and argument are intermixed), and 
discovers it in "generalisation from limited and unscientific observation." 
But the examples themselves assert sufficiency of observation, and if the 
recording is correct the conclusions evidently do follow. Jt is only by assuming 
. that the recording is incorrect that Mr. Carr6 can maintain the observations 
themselves to be limited and unscientific. He claims to over-reach the stated 
evidence and to know that the real evidence is different. He is quarrelling 
with the premises. He is claiming to enter into the mind of the individual 
concerned, and to know the incorrectness of the stated premises by com- 
parison with the actual experience meant to be recorded. If such a procedure 
were justified, Mr. Carr6 could discover errors of thought in any passage 

185 



PHILOSOPHY 

whatsoever. But it is clear that, whether the premises are true or not, is a 
matter to be decided in principle by private, cognitional experience, and if 
one person (e.g. Mr. Carre, evidently) has no experiences of a certain kind, 
others are not thereby precluded from having them. Mr. Carre would hardly 
commit such a blunder in full consciousness. The explanation is that he 
rejects the premises not directly, but by first confusing them with the argu- 
ment ("generalisation* '), and then taking himself to be rejecting the argument. 
It would be a mistake to suggest that more than a small proportion of Mr. 
Carre's examples are open to question. Most will repay analysis along the 
lines he suggests. All are interesting, especially the ten long ones in Part IV? 
which have as their subject-matter topics of moment both to popular and 
intellectual thought. E. To^s. 

The Moral Ideals of our Civilization. By R. A. TSANOFF. (New York: E. P. 
Button. 1942; London: G. Allen & Unwin. Pp. xix + 636. Price 305.) 

The publication of this book is something of an event. In the English- 
speaking countries general histories of ethics have been very rare for a very 
long time, and such as have appeared have usually been much too short for 
their theme. Mr. Tsanoff, however, deliberately and wisely casting his net 
widely so as to include literary, historical, sociological and economic philo- 
sophy as well as academic ethics, has contrived, within the limits ol a single 
volume of about 300,000 words to give us almost a spacious synopsis of his 
immense prospect. (The proper names of 760 writers appear in the index., very 
few of them being the names of editors.) In some instances a writer's views are 
condensed into a sentence or two, but the book never degenerates into a 
catalogue and is the work of a practised and elegant writer with several 
decades of close study of ethics behind him. 

My first business in this review is to express my definite conviction that 
Mr. Tsanoff's book should be widely and gratefully studied by all who are 
interested in the ideals of justice and humanity. I who am a professional 
teacher of ethics intend to advise beginners to consult it when they can and 
to censure senior students who do not study it seriously. Outside the schools 
the book should receive a very warm welcome from all persons of discrimina- 
tion who have some intellectual curiosity about ethical ideas and ideals in 
the past and about the shape of moral futurity. The book has wit, taste and 
clarity in a satisfying, sometimes in an eminent degree. It is carefully pro- 
portioned. It has continuity without falling into the error of treating the 
authors it discusses as mere phases in a historical sweep. While it prefers a 
gentle equability of treatment, and is not very fond of in-fighting, it is seldom 
loose, often acute, and generally reliable. I should add that these statements 
are made upon the assumption that the book is of a class which deserves the 
criticism appropriate to work of a very high standard. 

Having said this, I hope clearly, and certainly without reservations, I 
should not risk misunderstanding if I proceed to make certain comments, 
some of which are grumpy and pernickety t 

The book, correctly restricting itself to the moral ideals of our civilization 
(i.e. to what Europe either originated or assimilated) begins with chapters on 
Greece, Christianity, Scholasticism, the Renaissance and the Reformation, 
these constituting Part I in 122 pages. In view of the very high standard of 
modern scholarly investigation into Greek ethics it is plain that there would 
be something like a miracle if a chapter of thirty pages on the subject were 
memorable, profound and an advancement of our learning. There is no such 
miracle on the present occasion and similar comments, I think, should be 

186 



NEW BOOKS 

made on the rest of Part I, including its account of mediaevalism, a subject 
so intensively studied in our times. Mr. Tsanoff is well acquainted with modern 
scholarship into these times, but does not seem to me to be a leader. 

Part II, of about 200 pages deals with the period between the Reformation 
ant the French Revolution. Geographically it is chiefly concerned with Eng- 
land and France, though Holland and Hanover also enter in a big way and 
Spain in a small way. Ideologically there are several great patterns to be 
investigated: rationalism, empiricism and romanticism; nationalism and 
power politics; scepticism; optimism and misanthropy; materialism to 
mention but some out of many. As it seems to me, Mr. Tsanoff shows very 
great skill in arranging his discussion in such a way as to compare and connect 
theSe patterns of thought as well as to clarify their estrangements. 

The seventeenth century was so fertile in ideas about civilization, and the 
eighteenth so increased the fertility by its art of orderly expression that Mr. 
Tsanoff, allowing himself greater scope than in Part I, has still to accept the 
need for nicety of compression, and has to do so in a territory which has been 
very frequently explored in its several regions. Such difficulties, however, 
have stimulated instead of baulking him, and his success, in my opinion, has 
been marked. To be sure, much that he says may be questionable. What else 
is reasonably to be expected ? In my opinion, for instance (no doubt equally or 
more questionable) he unduly neglects the general rational deontology in 
Hobbes's ethics, thus presenting a simpler and perhaps more consistent 
account of Hobbism than Hobbes himself did. Again, he seems to me to 
exaggerate the extent to which Hobbes's materialism influenced his politics 
and his ethics. Hobbes's psychology is introspective. Its derivation from the 
principles of motion is a piece of piety and his psycho-physics, by his own and 
everyone else's admission, is the mere sketch of a faint plausibility. In this 
matter, I think, Mr. Tsanoff should have made the same comment as he did 
in the case of David Hartley. Again, in the final pages of his elegant, moving 
and careful appreciation of Spinoza's Ethica Mr. Tsanoff allows himself an 
objective interpretation of the word "better" which requires close examina- 
tion in view of what Spinoza himself said about the meaning of "good" and 
of "evil." 

Such grouses apart, however, I have little but gratitude for the whole 
exposition of Part II, and have a special admiration for the account of British 
ethics which occupies approximately half of it. I have no reason for doubting 
that Mr. Tsanoff has first hand acquaintance with the works of all the 700 
writers he discusses in his whole book, and many at least of the greater and 
lesser continental authors in these centuries have plainly been among his 
constant companions for many years. All the same he seems to me to have a 
peculiarly loving and a specially sedulous knowledge of British moral ideas in 
these, their greatest, centuries. I know of no author since Leslie Stephen who 
has treated these ideas so well and so informatively. Mr. Tsanoff has many 
obligations to Stephen, but that shows his good sense, and is no sort of dis- 
paragement of his considerable personal achievement in this place. 

Part III, called "The nineteenth century and ours" begins with a chapter 
on Kant, who died in 1804 at the age of eighty but is here regarded as the 
inaugurator of the great era of German idealism. This era and the later Ger- 
man "realistic reaction" to it is discussed with wide knowledge and tender 
sympathy in about 100 pages, after which Latin Europe, British Liberalism, 
the "spreading American scene" and Russian sociology, whether Marxist or 
some other, come into the picture. On the whole this was the course a good 
historian was bound to choose even if his sympathies were less obviously 
Anglo-Hegelian than Mr. Tsanoff 's. At the turn of the present century even 

187 



PHILOSOPHY 

liberal British committee-men like T. H. Green were listening intently for 
echoes from early nineteenth century Berlin, and the same thing happened in 
America. On the continent of Europe, in addition to its general philosophy, 
most socialisms, and not the Marxist only were strongly influenced by what 
had happened in the German Geist even when they opposed it. The same is 
true in Europe to-day although it is not so marked in England and America 
as it was in the early twentieth century. 

Mr. Tsanoff's chapter on American nineteenth century philosophy and its 
earlier origins seems to me to be admirable as well as delightful, and the 
interludes in his general argument which deal with British liberalism and 
with Benthamite and post-Benthamite utilitarianism show his customary 
skill. His main picture, with all its intricacy religious, poetical, roniantic, 
logico-philosophical, humanitarian, nationalistic, biological-evolutionary, 
despairing, hoping, fearing is presented with something more than mere 
good craftsmanship. I think he overworks the adjective "lofty" either, as 
redeeming what he deplores or as irradiating what he loves, but that may be 
my own misfortune. I am uplift-shy. 

I shall mention only two minor points, the first of which seems to me to be 
rather revealing, the second a question of accuracy. Commenting upon Henry 
Sidgwick, Mr. Tsanoff says that although, in a separate essay, Sidgwick 
examined Green's ethics "with thoroughness and candour/' it was "remark- 
able" that Sidgwick in his Methods of Ethics "failed to do justice to the claims 
of the Doctrine of Self-Realization." This seems to me to be a remarkable 
comment, and not to be helped by Mr. Tsanoff's further remark that "to have 
given adequate recognition to Self-Realization in his treatise would have 
required a radical change in his entire procedure." The point of accuracy 
concerns Mill's Utilitarianism. Mill, our author avers, "qualifies Benthamite 
doctrine by saying that the motive makes a difference in the morality where 
it makes a difference in the act" and* Tsanoff complains that "this qualifica- 
tion .reaches all the way through." Where did Mill say any such thing? What 
he did say, more than once, was that "the motive has nothing to do with the 
morality of the action though much with the worth of the agent" a totally 
different statement. 

Mr. Tsanoff ends his book with a chapter on "Ethical Issues in Contem- 
porary Thought." This chapter seems to me to be fair-minded and broad- 
knowledged. He is much more interested in moral ideals, that is to say in 
patterns of conduct and of aspiration than in the close analysis of moral 
ideas without any ulterior purpose. In that, very likely, he is right. 

JOHN LAIRD. 

Verifiability of Value. By RAY LEPLEY. (1944. New York: Columbia Univer- 
sity Press; London, Humphrey Milford. Pp. xi -\- 267. Price in England, 
22s. net.) 

If one describes "values" rather generally as "goods (objects, desires, satis- 
factions, acts and enjoyments)" and adopts a similar attitude towards more 
specific types of "values," if, further, one, interprets "verification," also rather 
generally, as "problem-solving adjustment," it will follow, pretty readily, 
that "values" can be "verified," that there is "interest" and purpose as well 
as factual description in all experimental "inquiry-creation-testing," in short, 
a diffuse unity in all human research and curiosity. Similarly it may readily 
be shown that there are senses in which sheer difference between "knowing" 
and "valuing," "quantity and quality," "descriptive and normative," "actual 
and creative," "objective and subjective" is not the whole story of experi- 
mental "inquiry-creation-testing." 

188 



NEW BOOKS 

Whether or not such a very generous invitation to unity is worth under- 
lining in detail may be a question ; but the approaches to a foregone conclusion 
are sometimes illuminating. In any case those who, like Mr. Lepley, agree 
broadly with Dewey have to undertake just such a task and are bound to 
censure Carnap 'as well as those others who, not being logical positivists, 
nevertheless believe that the attempt to blunt sharp distinctions is seldom 
commendable. I think myself that Mr. Lepley overdoes the "let's all get 
together" business, indeed that he carries the "what Something has joined" 
argument to indefensible extremes, as when he includes under "quality" the 
logical distinction between affirmative and negative, in other words when he 
allows himself to be cheated by a bad pun. Still those who are determined to 
cast their net widely must sometime expect to net pretty dry land. They aim 
at ubiquity, cost what may. 

If this author's honest and inexhaustible patience communicates itself to 
his readers, such readers will have (I think) a modest, but (I am sure) an 
appreciable reward. JOHN LAIRD. 



America's Progressive Philosophy. By W. H. SHELDON. (New Haven: Yale 
University Press. 1942. London: Humphrey Milford. Pp. ix -\- 232. 
Price in England, aos. net.) 

This is a short book, there being only about 200 words to the page; but it 
covers a prodigious territory with seven-leagued strides. It is written with 
immense gusto. 

It is the seventh set of lectures on the Mahlon Powell Foundation published 
for the University of Indiana. Mr. Sheldon's lectures were obviously meant 
to be popular, but although his capacity for inducing very abstract and very 
profound discussions to dash along at something fleeter than a hand gallop 
is very remarkable, it does not seem to me that these lectures, in all respects, 
are popular "in the best sense." There are too many loose statements to be 
condoned. Thus, to mention what is meant to be a point of cardinal impor- 
tance and not a mere obiter dictum, the author, after giving a harrowing 
description of what happens to a man when he glissades down a crumbling 
cliff grasping vainly at projecting tussocks, declares that, then, "there is 
given an object pure and simple, and the experience-side has vanished," so 
that mind and object become identical. All that he is entitled to claim (if 
so much) is that .^//-awareness is not noticeably present. 

Mr. Sheldon admits that "progressive philosophy" would be termed more 
accurately "process-philosophy." He seems to hold, however, that "process" 
really is "progressive." Even if it were, the contention that a progressive 
country should put its shirt upon a progressive philosophy may provoke 
ironical comment. Some of his compatriots, I think, may be a little shy of 
such claims, even if they agree that the process-philosophy was "rounded 
and matured" in America "alone." 

Mr. Sheldon's reason for making the last statement is that Alexander and 
Bergson, to say nothing of other i^on-Americans such as Darwin and Hera- 
cleitus, are backnumbers now, the current version being Dewey's and White- 
head's with some support from Mead. Heracleitus had a philosophy of flux 
not of process. Darwin, Alexander and Bergson fumbled for the proper key. 
What, then, was the key? It appears to be the American discovery that 
process, instead of being either mere alteration of being or loss of being is 
"gain of being." 

Metaphysically I submit this statement ought to mean that, granting 
"objective immortality" to the past at any moment, the present at any such 

189 



PHILOSOPHY 

moment inevitably acquires a "gain of being." Certainly, by hypothesis, new 
beings exist which did not exist before, but surely the new beings need not 
"have more being," i.e. need not exist more (if that made sense) than the 
earlier beings. One might as well maintain that a newborn baby, by increasing 
the sum-total of humanity, was more human than any former human being. 
And if the thing were so it would be quite universal. At each successive 
moment an ageing man, whatever his losses in the way of hair, teeth, or wits, 
would "gain being," and so would stones and manure. There is no connection 
between such a metaphysical proposition and the idea that things progress, 
that is, retain their old capacities and acquire good new ones too. Nor does 
Mr. Sheldon attempt to prove the latter, although he often seems to be shaping 
towards it. His conclusion is quite tame. In all probability, he concludes, 
some things develop, some mark time, some deteriorate. In what sense is such 
a conclusion a portentous discovery ? 

Mr. Sheldon appears to think that process-philosophy is a great eirenicon 
which should put an end to philosophical wrangling and lead to universal 
co-operation among philosophers. Why? The specific opposite of process- 
philosophy, he tells us, is scholasticism, the doctrine of a fixed scala naturae. 
Process-philosophers tell the scholastics that there may be some fixities hi 
the scale, but only some, and that, even if there happen to be some fixities, 
a priori, anything may become anything. Why should the scholastics be 
appeased? They seem to be expected to flourish on the meagre crumbs of 
comfort doled out by the admission that some of their beliefs need not be 
false. Moreover, if scholastics were thus appeased it would surely be a little 
odd if the same peaceable gesture were successful in reconciling all the other 
major philosophical differences, including the two which Mr. Sheldon thinks 
most important, idealism versus materialism, and the One versus the Many. 

As I have said, Mr. Sheldon covers a prodigious territory. I have no space 
to touch on much of it, for instance on his contention that "action" is the 
test of "reality," or on his argument that, tautologies apart, all so-called 
synthetic implication is merely a historical route. These are threadbare topics, 
but there is freshness in Mr. Sheldon's approach to them. Some may doubt, 
however, whether Mr. Sheldon's gumption, though obviously considerable, is 
quite equal to his gusto. JOHN LAIRD. * 



Books also received: 

DOROTHY M. EMMET. The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking. London: 

Macmtllan & Co., Ltd. 1945. Pp. xi -f 238. 103. 6d. net. 
R. G. COLLINGWOOD. The Idea of Nature. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press. 

1945. Pp- viii + 183. 155. net. 
ARNOLD S. NASH. The University and the Modern World. London: S.C.M. 

Press, Ltd. Pp. 223. I2S. 6d. net. 
RT. HON. SIR HENRY SLESSER, P.C. Order $nd Disorder: A Study of Mediaeval 

Principles. London: Hutchinson & Co. Pp. 112. 155. 
Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for the year ended June 30, 1943. 

Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1944. 

Pp. xii -f- 610. $2. 
PRYNS HOPKINS, M.A., Ph.D. From Gods to Dictators. Girard, Kansas: 

Haldeman- Julius Publications. 1944. Pp. 168. Paper, $i; cloth 1.65. 
W. J. PHYTHIAN-ADAMS, D.D. The Way of At-one-ment (Studies in Biblical 

Theology). London: S.C.M. Press, Ltd. Pp. 127. 73. 6d. net. 

190 



NEW BOOKS 

JACQUES MARITAIN. The Dream of Descartes. With some other Essays. 

Translated by Mabelle L. Andison. New York: Philosophical Library. 

1945- Pp- 220. $3. 
R. FORTESCUE PICARD. Time, Number and the Atom. London: Williams 

& Norgate, Ltd. 1945. Pp. viii + 92. 8s. 6d. net. 
J. B. HOBMAN (Editor). David Eder: Memoirs of a Modern Pioneer. London: 

Victor Gollancz, Ltd. 1945. Pp. 215. 8s. 6d. net. 
A. L. KROEBER. Configurations of Culture Growth. Berkeley and Los 

Angeles: University of California Press. 1944. Pp. x -f 772. $7.50. 
WM. ERNEST HOCKING. Science and the Idea of God (The John Calvin 
^IcNair Lectures). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 

London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. 1944. Pp. xii 

-f 124. $1.50. English price 93. 6d. net. 
S. K. SAKSENA. Nature of Consciousness in Hindu Philosophy. Benares: 

Nand Kishor & Bros. 1944. Pp. viii -f 224. Rs. 7/8. 
G. C. FIELD, M.A., D.Litt. Pacifism and Conscientious Objection. Cambridge 

University Press. 1945. Pp. viii 4-124. 33. 6d. net. 
J. C. FLUGEL, B.A., D.Sc. Man, Morals and Society. A Psycho-Analytical 

Study. London: Gerald Duckworth & Co., Ltd. 1945. Pp. 328. 

2is. net. 
(Miss) Siu-Cm HUANG. Lu Hsiang-Shan: A Tewlfth-Century Chinese Idealist 

Philosopher. New Haven: Conn.: American Oriental Society. 1944. 

Pp. 1 1 6. No price quoted. 
BENEDETTO CROCE. Politics and Morals. New York: Philosophical Library, 

Inc. 1945. Pp. 204. $3. 
MARVIN FARBER. The Foundation of Phenomenology: Edmund Husserl and 

the Quest for a Rigorous Science of Philosophy. Cambridge, Mass.: 

Harvard University Press. 1943. Pp. 586. English price 333. 6d. 

(Humphrey Milford). 
T. D. WELDON. Introduction to Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason." Oxford: 

at the Clarendon Press. 1945. Pp. viii 4- 206. 123. 6d. net. 
Z. JORDAN. The Development of Mathematical Logic and of Logical Positivism 

in Poland between the two Wars (in the series of booklets "Polish Science 

and Learning," edited by The Association of Polish University Pro- 
fessors and Lecturers in Great Britain). London, New York, Toronto: 

Oxford University Press. 1945. Pp. 48. 2s. 6d. net. 
A. E. CLARK-KENNEDY, M.D., F.R.C.P. The Art of Medicine in Relation to 

the Progress of Thought (a Lecture in the History of Science Course in 

the University of Cambridge). Cambridge University Press. 1945. 

Pp. 48. 2S. net. 



IQI 



INSTITUTE NOTES 

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192 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

I. LIFE AND PLEASURE (II). The late H. \V. B. JOSEPH . . 195 
II. ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT. 

PROFESSOR J. N. FINDLAY .206 
HI. THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE. 

PROFESSOR H. F. HALLETT 227 

IV. ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER. JOSHUA C. GREGORY . . . 244 

V. NEW BOOKS 256 

VI. CORRESPONDENCE 284 

VII. INSTITUTE NOTES: ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT . . . 286 



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PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 
BY UNWIN BROTHERS LIMITED 

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PHILOSOPHY 

THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INSTITUTE 
OF PHILOSOPHY 



VOL. XX. No. 77 NOVEMBER 1945 

LIFE AND PLEASURE (II) 

By the late H. W. B. JOSEPH 

FURTHER, we come here to what for the purpose of our present 
argument is the most important consideration of all, viz. that if we 
could show that there were two kinds of neural or physiological 
processess, occurring respectively on all occasions of pleasure and 
pain, the fact would be valueless for proving that life must be pre- 
dominantly pleasant. It is perhaps intelligible that to succeed or fail 
in purposive activity should bring respectively contentment and 
discontent rather than vice-versa; but that of two kinds of neural or 
physiological process, one should be accompanied by pleasure and 
the other by pain, is no more intelligible than if the connection were 
reversed. If the behaviour of any creature is affected by desires and 
aversions, by judgments, by feelings: if its desires and aversions or 
its judgments are connected with or affected by its pleasures and 
pains, then indeed the question with what bodily conditions its 
pleasures and pains are connected is part of the problem that in- 
terests the biologist viz. what the conditions are under which the 
species can continue. But in that case the biologist must not claim 
that all the conditons of life and reproduction can be found in what 
happens in the body. Pleasures and pains, desires and aversions, 
purposes are not events that happen in the body. If they are the 
mere "apparence or sense" of what happens there, and alone deter- 
mines survival or extinction * then what happens there to determine 
survival might, for all we can see, equally appear as pain or pleasure. 
If, however related inter se, they are really efficacious to promote 
survival or extinction, what happens in the body does not suffice 
for explaining these fates. Let us not deceive ourselves by calling 
what happens there psycho-physical; the word solves no problem 
but only conceals one. 



PHILOSOPHY 

What happens in the body includes not only respiration, the cir- 
culation of the blood, metabolism, sleep, but movements by which 
food is secured and ingested, by which enemies are attacked or 
repulsed, mating carried out, eggs laid in suitable places, young 
provided for, shelter and clothing found or made, and so forth. But 
it is another question why some of these happen in the body. We 
often ascribe it to instinct that in the lower animals these things 
happen as the continuance of the species required. To act instinc- 
tively is to be provoked, in virtue of some pre-existing bodily organi- 
zation, by a stimulus of some definite sort to a response of some 
definite sort, usually to one that may be regarded as suitable to the 
situation in the sense that such response in such a situation has 
survival- value, for the individual or the species. An animal may be 
thrown into convulsions by a stimulus, but it would not be said to 
contort itself instinctively, because its convulsions have no survival- 
value; but if the stimulus were injurious and provoked a definite 
movement that removed the cause of it, as the sting of a gadfly 
provokes a horse to whisk away the fly with its tail, or if a stimulus 
provoked a movement subserving the continuance of the species, as 
the scent of food provokes a hungry animal to seize and devour it, 
then the responsive action would be called instinctive. Now plainly 
this connection between stimulus and response in virtue of a pre- 
existing organization might exist, not only without any conscious- 
ness of the conditions which make the response biologically useful, 
but equally whether pain or pleasure or neither accompanied it. 
Many such connexions in fact exist without accompaniment of 
either. The automatic regulation of secretion from endocrinal glands, 
or of the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air of the lungs, is such 
a connexion, though because there is no consciousness of what is 
happening we do not call it instinctive; and it normally proceeds 
without accompaniment of pleasure or of pain. That some of the 
so-called instinctive responses necessary to life are accompanied by 
pleasure is doubtless true; but that others, like the regulation of 
breathing, are not shows that accompaniment by pleasure is not 
required for their occurrence. It would only be required if the 
stimulus without the pleasure were insufficient to produce the 
response in an animal physically pre-disposed; and to allege this is 
to abandon a purely physiological explanation. So long as we profess 
that this is possibly the accompanying pleasure is an otiose accom- 
paniment; and there might as well, for all our theory can say, be 
accompaniment of pain. Indeed there sometimes is. What is more 
necessary biologically than for the female to be delivered of its off- 
spring? But what pains are greater in many species than the pains of 
parturition ? This shows that, as long as a stimulus can produce the 
response which the continuance of the species requires, it does not 
196 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

matter how agonizing are the activities involved. Some physiological 
activities are in fact accompanied by pleasure, and some by pain. In 
neither case can we see any necessary connexion. Biologically it is 
only needful that those subserving the continuance of life, or repro- 
duction, should be provoked, and those harmful inhibited; provided 
this happens, it matters nothing whether either are pleasant, or 
painful, or unfelt. 

Of course the argument is changed if we introduce desire and 
aversion, or again purpose, into our determinants of biologically 
needful action. It then becomes important what is pleasant and what 
painful. For our desires and aversions may be affected by pleasures 
and pain, and our purposes directed to obtain one and avoid the 
other. But whether it is a condition of species surviving that activities 
subserving the continuance of life, or reproduction, should be 
pleasant and those harmful painful will depend on how desire, 
aversion, and purpose are related to pain and pleasure. In any case 
we must not regard desire and aversion as merely the conscious side 
of physiological tendencies, if the introduction of them is to affect 
the issue ; were they no more than that, the physiological explanation 
would still remain sufficient. The introduction of purpose must take 
us outside this. A merely physiological explanation of the bodily- 
processes concerned in actions called purposes is inconsistent with 
their being really purposive. These bodily processes issue in move- 
ments of the limbs (or maybe in inhibitions of movement) which are 
the physical side, and the manifestation to others, of what, as we 
know it ourselves, we call (not in the biological sense) action. Now 
movements of bodies are commonly explained as the necessary 
results of other previous movements of bodies. If, when the bodies 
whose movements have to be explained are our limbs, their move- 
ments are still to be thus explained, it does not matter what pains or 
pleasures accompany or are expected to be avoided or secured by 
their movements. Neither present feelings, nor anticipations of others 
to come, even though they may affect our purposes, nor our pur- 
poses are movements of bodies ; nor are they therefore on this view 
efficacious in determining our so-called purposive activities. If our 
purposes make our actions other than they would have been without 
them, a purely mechanical or dynamical explanation of all that 
occurs in our bodies is impossible. So long as we hold to such expla- 
nation, we may say what we please about men's dislike of pain or 
love of pleasure, but we shall only be entitled to credit the Evolution 
hypothesis with proving that life must be predominantly pleasant, 
if it can discover a necessary connexion between certain kinds of 
bodily process and certain kinds of feeling. I certainly am not 
favoured with this insight, and I do not believe that anyone else is. 

But, it will perhaps be said, we know that our actions are some- 

197 



PHILOSOPHY 

times determined by desire or aversion, and sometimes by purposes 
which are conceived under the influence of desire for, or aversion 
to, a remote and more comprehensive object though in the execu- 
tion of them some particular desire or aversion may be ignored. We 
know too how much both our particular desires and aversions and 
our conception of those remoter and more comprehensive objects 
towards which our purposes come to be directed, are affected by our 
experiences of pleasure and pain. Let us waive the question how all 
this is to be reconciled with those ways of explaining movements of 
bodies which physiology or any other science of body employs. The 
relation of soul and body, of mind and matter, is unsolved; but we 
cannot really doubt that our actions are influenced by our desires 
and purposes, and our prospects of survival by our actions; nor yet 
that many at least of our pleasures and pains depend on what 
happens in our bodies. We may grant that this dependence is merely 
an empirical fact. Still, so long as the actions of any animals are 
directed towards obtaining pleasure and avoiding pain, it is a con- 
dition of the continuance of their species that what they must do in 
order to live and propagate should be on the whole pleasant and not 
painful. Biologically speaking, an animal must practise and pursue 
what is necessary to life and reproduction ; as a fact of psychology, it 
practises and pursues what is pleasant; therefore what is necessary 
to life and reproduction must also be pleasant. This was really 
Spencer's argument, and it holds. It is beside the point to labour the 
contention that there is no intelligible contention between any 
particular physiological process and pleasure or pain. 

But it is not beside the point, if that life must be predominantly 
pleasant is claimed as a biological theorem ; the argument just recited 
rests also on a psychological assumption; and this assumption, or 
assumptions (for there are really two) may be disputed, even though 
the mere argumentation holds. The conclusion therefore is still in 
doubt. 

We saw that Spencer took it as obvious that pleasant and painful 
feelings were the same respectively with those which we seek to 
bring into and retain in consciousness, or to get and keep out of it ; 
that he thought it as clear that we seek to obtain pleasures or avoid 
pains which we are not feeling, as that we seek to retain pleasures 
or get rid of pains which we are feeling, and clear that we desire 
or avoid nothing but pleasant and painful feelings. That we can only 
desire what we think to be pleasant, and can be averse to nothing 
except as we think it painful, are assumptions which have often been 
advanced not merely as empirically true, but as necessary. "Desiring 
a thing," said J. S. Mill, "and finding it pleasant, aversion to it and 
thinking of it as painful, are phenomena entirely inseparable, or 
rather two parts of the same phenomenon ; in strictness of language, 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

two modes of naming the same psychological fact." The confusion 
underlying all this has been so often exposed, that I need only briefly 
indicate it. It is true that if I now desire to get anything, I feel 
pleasure now in the thought of getting it by and by, and expect 
now to feel pleasure in getting it by and by; equally, if I desire that 
something should happen which is not my getting anything. But 
what I desire to get need not be a feeling of pleasure, and what I 
desire should happen, if it is not my getting anything, cannot be my 
getting pleasure. The pleasure anticipated from satisfying a desire 
cannot be that the thought of which excited the desire; whatever 
my desire be, I anticipate pleasure from satisfying it; the thought of 
that pleasure, therefore, cannot determine my desire to be for one 
thing rather than for any other. 

We have allowed that the connexion of pleasure, in some sense of 
the word, with the consciousness of succeeding in one's endeavour 
may be more than a mere empirical fact ; so may be its connexion 
with learning of the happening of what one desired should happen ; 
and therefore, with all fulfilment of desire. The confusion of this 
pleasure with what is desired thus explains how it comes to be 
thought that all desire must be for pleasure. But the exposure of the 
confusion explodes that supposed necessity. 

There is, however, another reason than this confusion for the 
popularity of the belief that all desire is for pleasure, and that is the 
identification of pleasure and pain with good and evil, coupled with 
a failure to distinguish particular desires from that desire of one's 
good which, unlike any particular desire, seems never satisfied and 
so may be felt along with them all. To desire anything for oneself on 
the ground that it is evil is perhaps impossible; hence, if evil were 
pain, it would seem that we cannot desire pain. Again, so far at least 
as a man acts deliberately, or with consideration, it would seem that 
he considers how his proposed action is related to attaining what he 
thinks good; and hence, if good is pleasure, that in all considered 
action one is pursuing pleasure. 

Some would deny that in acting deliberately a man need have 
regard to his good; he who acts, they say, from a sense of duty is not 
considering how his act is related to bringing any good into being: 
still less to his attaining any good. I do not wish to raise this issue; 
and since those who identify good with pleasure would be prepared 
to speak of a man's good as his happiness, and a man's desire for 
happiness differs from particular desires in the same sort of way as 
does his desire for his good, it will be enough for me to argue that 
the influence of the desire for good is not sufficient to secure that life 
must be preponderantly pleasant even if one's good means one's 
happiness. I do not myself think that the desire of happiness is the 
same with the desire of good; I think that the desire of good, i.e. to 

199 



PHILOSOPHY 

make one's life as good as possible, may lead a man to do his duty 
at the expense of what, in any ordinary sense of the word, would be 
called his happiness. Others, who would say that to act from a sense 
of duty involves no desire of one's good, would still agree that a man 
may do his duty at the expense of his happiness. Either way, there- 
fore, if from the admission that deliberate action is with a view to 
happiness it does not follow that life need be preponderantly pleasant, 
a fortiori it does not follow on the assumption that we can also 
deliberately act from a sense of duty. And I propose to argue that, 
though it is biologically necessary that men's activities should 
subserve the continuance of the species, and though it be granted 
that their purposes help to determine their activities, and are directed 
towards happiness, yet it does not follow that life must be pre- 
ponderantly pleasant, nor that they need actually be happy. 

It might be argued that since good or happiness is pleasure, the 
influence of a desire for it is the influence of a desire for pleasure. 
But the plausibility of identifying it with pleasure is really gone, 
when once it is seen that the pleasure or contentment that attends 
getting what one wants is not what one wants. His good or happiness 
is that which would completely satisfy a man, and with which there- 
fore he would be content. But he would be content because he had 
got what he wanted, and that was not his contentment with getting 
it. If this is not a sufficient rejoinder, consider that those who main- 
tain only pleasure and pain to be good and evil contradict themselves 
as soon as they begin to talk also about happiness. For happiness, 
they say, consists in as many and great pleasures as possible, with as 
few and light pains. But they think of it as something which a man 
could say he is having and enjoying. Now the pleasures whose sum 
it is supposed to be are successive; and even if they make a sum, they 
cannot be had and enjoyed as a sum. At most a man can enjoy the 
knowledge, how large a sum they make. The pleasure he takes in 
knowing this may be as intense as you please; yet it will not be the 
sum of those other pleasures. And why should the only knowledge in 
which he can take such intense pleasures be the knowledge how 
many other pleasures his life will have brought him ? 

So far then we have neither found reason for believing that all 
particular desires are for pleasure, nor that purposive action is 
always directed into that course whereby it is thought that one will 
on the whole get most pleasure. And even if all particular desires 
were for pleasure, it is impossible to show that they must be; the 
belief that they must merely arises from confusing what one desires 
with the pleasure which, because one desires it, one anticipates from 
getting it. If I wanted to be High Sheriff, it would give me pleasure 
to be pricked; if I wanted not to be, it would not. Neither therefore 
recognition of the part played in determining our action by desire 

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LIFE AND PLEASURE 

and aversion, nor of that played by purpose even if purposive action 
must be directed towards one's happiness or good, leads to the con- 
clusion that only if predominantly pleasant can life continue. 

But perhaps what establishes the conclusion is the part played in 
determining action not by desire and aversion but by pleasure and 
pain. Desire and aversion themselves are not pleasures and pains, nor 
is it the pleasures we desire, or the pains which we fear, that influ- 
ence our conduct, for they do not as yet exist. "Nature," said 
Bentham, "has placed mankind under the governance of two sove- 
reign masters, pain and pleasure. . . . They govern us in all we do, in 
all we say, in all we think/' 1 But he also saw now and then, though 
quickly forgetting the implications of it, that to govern us they 
must be in cssc, not in posse, and that what we desire or fear is not 
in esse. So it might be false that we seek to bring nothing into con- 
sciousness but feelings of pleasure, to keep nothing out but feelings 
of pain, yet true that present feelings of pleasure or pain make us 
seek to maintain or alter the state whereto they belong. Would it 
then follow that life is only possible on condition of being pre- 
dominantly pleasant ? 

The answer is that it would not. For in the first place many 
pleasures and pains are incidental to states which we cannot main- 
tain or alter at will; and provided the states which we can maintain 
or alter were pleasant when necessary to the continuance of life and 
painful when injurious, the necessary states which our efforts cannot 
affect might safely be painful; and life predominantly painful in 
consequence. In the second place, what makes us as biologists 
attach importance to the correlation between injurious movements 
or contacts and pain is that we believe that pain serves as a danger- 
signal, leading an animal to desist from injurious movements and 
withdraw from injurious contacts. It might easily injure its heart by 
over-exertion, if pain did not lead it to stop; if cutting and scratching 
did not hurt, cattle would destroy themselves against barbed- wire 
fences. It seems less necessary that beneficial bodily movements and 
contacts should be pleasant in order to be maintained; (we are not 
now considering whether they need be so in order to be desired or 
sought); for unless those injuries were painful, there would be 
nothing to hold an animal to one sort rather than the other. A plant 
no doubt will not live except in suitable soil and temperature, and 
where unsuitable winds do not blow on it, and insect pests and brows- 
ing or nibbling animals do not come and destroy it. But plants, not 
being locomotive, are not constantly exposing themselves to new 
environments. Animals are; and not being provided in advance with 
bodies proof against everything with which they may be brought 
into contact as they move, nor capable without hurt of every mode 
1 Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. I, i. 

201 



PHILOSOPHY 

and duration of movement, they are led by the connexion of pain 
with injurious movements and contacts to preserve themselves 
uninjured as they move. These pains determine them to desist from 
what is injurious. 

But, granting that pain has this biological use, how much follows? 
Not that life must be predominantly pleasant, but that animals may 
be shifted by pains from the courses injurious to life into those 
needful for or compatible with its continuance. It is still perfectly 
conceivable that very few beneficial activities should be pleasant, 
though it would not do for them to be painful; conceivable that 
animals should be kept in the necessary courses by much pain felt 
whenever they diverge, with little or no pleasure at other times; so 
that life would not be predominantly pleasant. 

But men at any rate do not in fact seek to maintain in conscious- 
ness only feelings of pleasure, to get rid only of feelings of pain. Felt 
pains do not fatally determine movements of desistence from those 
activities which they accompany, or directed to removing the pain's 
apparent causes. And in fact, only if they do not can they be bio- 
logically useful and not superfluous. For if they did fatally determine 
those movements, the physical conditions of the pains might as use- 
fully do so themselves directly. The pains are of use only if they are 
merely something to be taken into account; and only so are they 
properly called danger signals. If a train could not over-run the 
points when the signal was against it, the red light would be un- 
necessary. But if it is in my power to desist from a painful activity 
or not according as I desire more to be rid of the pain or to go through 
with the activity, or according as I judge the pain or failure to 
complete or bring about the expected result of the activity the 
greater evil; or if again I know from the pain that the activity is 
injurious and can set the injury threatened against that failure and 
judge which is more detrimental to my happiness, then the pain is 
useful as heading me off from or informing me of a danger which 
neither it nor the physical cause of it fatally determines me to escape. 
Then, however, if the painful activity is endured because of desire, 
since desire need not be directed upon pleasure, there need be no 
pleasure beyond that of getting what was desired; while if considera- 
tion enters, whether to endure a continuance of present pain is but 
one of the considerations with reference to which I shall determine 
how to act; and, as we have seen, it is not necessary that in thus 
deliberating, even if my overriding regard is for my own happiness, 
I should conceive this happiness to consist in the largest attainable 
sum of pleasures with the least admixture of pains. Nor is it neces- 
sary that because my overriding regard is for my own happiness, my 
life should be happy. 

It has been said that a man does not do what he thinks will bring 

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LIFE AND PLEASURE 

him most pleasure, but what he now feels most pleasure in thinking 
of doing; that he abstains from doing not what he thinks will bring 
him most pain, but what he now feels most pain in thinking of 
doing. But supposing this is so, he need by no means now feel most 
pleasure or pain in thinking of doing what he thinks will bring most 
pleasure or pain hereafter. A man suffering from toothache may 
think that the pain of extraction will be less than that involved in 
keeping the tooth, yet shrink from going to have it out. If that is 
because the thought of going to have it out is more painful now than 
tfie thought of leaving things as they are, plainly to be held back 
from a course of action by the painfulness of thinking of taking it is 
no way of securing that we shall best avoid pain. So with the influence 
of pleasure ; it is notorious what pleasure a man may feel in thinking 
of revenge; but he may be certain that he will have to pay dearly, 
and seek revenge without ever expecting, let alone getting, more 
pleasure if he takes it than if he docs not. If then the pain and 
pleasure that governed us in all we do were those felt in thought of 
acting thus or thus, their governance of us would not even necessi- 
tate our seeking to make our lives predominantly pleasant, still less 
our lives being so. But if their way of governing us were that we 
could only take such action as we thought would bring us most 
pleasure, from this it would follow on biological grounds that we 
must act in those ways whereby at the moment of acting we ex- 
pected to bring most pleasure into our lives, but not whereby we 
should actually do this and in fact make them preponderantly 
pleasant. Perhaps what makes a man shrink from death is the pain 
felt in the thought of dying; perhaps when he shrinks from it he 
believes that life has chiefly pleasure in store for him ; but that need 
be no more than illusion. The survival of the species is served by 
whatever keeps an individual from dying, at least until it has done 
all that is needed to establish the next generation. If the individual 
is so constituted as not to avoid death unless believing that its life will 
be preponderantly pleasant, then this belief is of great biological 
value. But it is of no biological value that the belief should be true, 
and no biological argument can be produced to show that it must be 
so. Nor is it inconceivable that the individual should not be thus 
constituted; in fact it would seem untrue that it is. The lower animals 
when moved by desire probably act without any consideration 
whether by doing what they desire to do they will promote their 
happiness. A male animal in the breeding season will fight other 
males for possession of the female. Appetite and pugnacity together 
secure that the strongest and most courageous animals get most 
offspring; but provided the sexual urge is strong enough to keep 
them fighting, there is no biological reason why they should enjoy 
fighting, or enjoy mating when that comes, or if they do, why the 

203 



PHILOSOPHY 

pleasure of it should be great enough to offset were they capable of 
forming a judgment the pains of the fight. And in men there is a 
love of life which takes little account whether its continuance will be 
preponderantly pleasant. "Men convicted of the most dastardly 
murders/' says Baron von Rintelen, in The Dark Invader, "have 
related to me how they felt when they were granted a reprieve. 
Some of these wretched 'lifers' were clinging from day to day to 
the faintest ray of hope that a day might come when they might 
be discharged, even though their families had dispersed, and though 
they had nothing to hope for outside these prison walls in a life tor 
which they had become wholly unfitted through decades of incar- 
ceration, as they were now nothing but human rags." Suppose that 
while hoping for a reprieve they had fancied their life in prison 
would be sweet; experience must have quickly disillusioned them, 
but they still fancied it would be sweet outside. If after discharge, 
disillusioned again, they were again sentenced to death for another 
crime, is there any reason to think that the love of life would not 
renew the old illusion? That, if we think that nature devises, may be 
a device of nature to secure the continuance of the species ; and see 
how little the device requires that a man should in fact have much 
pleasure of living. 

Every way then we have found the assertion that on biological 
grounds pleasure and pain must go along respectively with condi- 
tions conducive to the maintenance of and destructive of life, devoid 
of any foundation. On certain assumptions about considered action, 
it will be a condition of the continuance of the species that the 
individual should believe his action will lead to a preponderance of 
pleasure. Even so, it will not be necessary that his belief should be 
true ; nor have we found reason to think the assumptions in question 
true themselves. So far as action is determined by the relative 
strengths of particular desires, without consideration, or so far as it 
depends on instinct, the question whether life will be preponderantly 
pleasant is not raised by the agent, and has no bearing on the sur- 
vival of the species. It is perfectly conceivable that the physiological 
processes required for the continuance of life up to, or also beyond, 
the time of reproduction and of the independence of offspring, should 
be painful, and, if you will, even agonizing. Only by assuming that 
the empirical conjunction of pleasure with eating, drinking, pro- 
creation and healthy exercise, or of pain with disease and wounds, is 
intelligibly necessary, can the assertion be established; and to 
assume this is to beg the question. For all that can be shown to the 
contrary, the condition on which alone animals could in fact live 
might be that they should suffer continuous agony. Men indeed 
might in such case prefer to die, and take steps accordingly. If so, 
their species would disappear. Yet it does not follow, because they 

204 



LIFE AND PLEASURE 

judged death better than such a life as that, that they must judge it 
better than any life not preponderantly pleasant. And though it may 
be that they determine their actions according to judgments of good 
and evil, the Evolution hypothesis does net require that they must. 
This hypothesis then has nothing to show against the possibility 
that animal life, man's included, should be more or less continuously 
painful. I am not for a moment suggesting that in fact it generally is 
so; very likely it is not. Whether from the consideration that though 
it quite conceivably might have been, in fact it is not so, any infer- 
ences are justifiable, and if so, what they are, it is beside my purpose 
to enquire. 



205 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

PROFESSOR J. N. FINDLAY 

THIS paper is an attempt to clarify our talk about minds and thoughts 
our own minds and the thoughts which run through them and 
which we know directly, as well as the minds of other people and 
the thoughts with which we credit them. We do so in order to be 
able to characterize satisfactorily our whole performance in talking 
about minds and thoughts, the rules according to which such talk 
operates and the goals it purports to reach. We also hope to evaluate, 
in the light of such a characterization, a number of more elaborate 
ways of speaking about minds and thoughts, so as to become clear 
as to their advantages or disadvantages in comparison with more 
ordinary ways of speaking. The whole investigation is well worth 
undertaking, since it has long been evident that our talk about mind 
and thought is, to a peculiar extent, liable to become the seat of 
certain deep perplexities, which do not arise when we deal with 
unusual material on the borderlines of knowledge, but which tend, 
rather, to obtrude themselves in commonplace situations, and to 
trouble our grasp of the most obvious notions and the most evident 
truths. Such perplexities, broadly covered by the word "philosophi- 
cal," are rendered very stubborn by their objects and their origin. 
For when we are dealing with things remote, strange and intricate, 
we have at least a firm foothold in the well-known, simple and near, 
and a clear set of terms to talk with ; but we hardly seem to have a 
perch to hop to, or any intelligible language left to talk in, when the 
obvious itself begins to present difficulties. And it is also character- 
istic of most of the difficulties we are considering that in them the 
burning zone of perplexity seems to shift erratically from issue to 
issue, that each expedient adopted to meet them involves us in new 
problems, that men cannot ever agree as to the best expedient or 
the least serious difficulty, and that, in the outcome, they resemble 
nothing so much as a set of sleepers under inadequate coverings, 
some of whom prefer exposure in one place, while others prefer it 
in another. Our whole talk about mind and thought has, further, 
something nebulous about it : it moves on a high level, charged with 
free electricity, which cannot be satisfactorily used or measured 
until it has been conducted to earth. And there would, moreover, be 
truth in saying that our whole talk about thinking, about inner 
subjective activity, is, to a large extent, the product of a primitive 
perplexity and of a short way of dealing with it, for we readily locate 

206 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

"in the mind" whatever we should like to place elsewhere, but can 
unfortunately find no room for. 1 Mind is, to a large extent, a place 
where we dismiss and bracket everything visionary, erroneous, 
irregular or obscure, feeling that we have rendered it quite harmless 
by doing so: we should not speak of mind and thinking half so often 
if we always judged correctly or saw straight. It is surely not remark- 
able that a region so used should give birth to a crop of peculiarly 
stubborn puzzles. But in regard to this, as in regard to all things 
that utterly puzzle and confuse us, there is only one thing to be done: 
We must become clear as to the nature of our difficulty and how it 
has arisen. It may then be that we shall find that we have been 
unable to solve a certain problem merely because we lack access to 
certain essential data or information, which beings more favoured 
than ourselves may possess already, or which we ourselves may come 
to possess in the future. In such a case we may enumerate the alter- 
natives, perhaps assess their probability, and then divest ourselves 
of curiosity until the desired data present themselves. And it may 
also be that we shall find reason to say, as some philosophers have 
suggested, that there are some perplexities inherent in the knowledge- 
situation, from which no one who knew anything could ever free 
himself: 2 in such cases, if such there be, we shall be unable to do more 
than circumnavigate our blind-spot, assess the plausibility of various 
alternatives, and then abandon curiosity without the hope which 
buoys us in our former type of case. And it may also be, finally, 
that our perplexity will reveal itself as nothing but the reflection 
of our ways of speaking, a shadow of the hesitant, discrepant, 
mutable and suggestive pattern of human language, projected 
outward upon the landscape, with which it merges so intimately 
that we fail to realize that things only are so difficult because the 
ways in which we speak of them are so unsatisfactory. And such 
perplexities will remove themselves once we have managed to see 
why certain ways of talking lead to difficulties, and when we either 
use them with a clearer consciousness of their dangers, or have 
superseded them with ways of talking which are less confusing 
or which please us better. 3 

In considering our talk about mind and thought we shall, in the 
first instance, leave out of reckoning all diction of a technical order, 
which has faced philosophical perplexities and has, in consequence, 
become infected with question-begging implications. We shall not, 
however, leave out of account talk which mentions "experiences" 
and "mental states," and shall make use of these very convenient 

1 First pointed out by Hegel, I think. 

* It will be one of the tasks of this essay to recommend this way of speaking. 
3 It will be obvious from this passage, and throughout this essay, how much 
I owe to Wittgenstein, Wisdom and others. 

207 



PHILOSOPHY 

terms ourselves. For, though they are sometimes used in technical 
or philosophical senses, they are more frequently merely the equiva- 
lents of the "thoughts," the "feelings'* and the "wishes" of ordinary 
diction, things that all men admit that they themselves have, which 
they unhesitatingly attribute to others, and which are said to be 
constantly "passing" or "flashing" through people's minds. The 
"mental states" whose verbal symbolization we shall consider are 
nothing recondite nor a product of analysis, but to say that anyone 
has them, is to say, for example, that such a person is thinking of 
the years he spent in North Auckland, that he feels sad that he will 
never again live in such a pleasant climate, that he wishes that he 
wasn't doomed to end his days in a chilly southern city, and so on 
and so on. We are dealing with such ways of talking, furthermore, 
as make it true that men know their own experiences, or at least a 
large number of them, that they can tell these experiences to others 
without any special training, though sometimes they may have some 
difficulty in expressing them, that they can learn to read or interpret 
the experiences of others through their conduct or their gestures, 
and so on indefinitely. All these must be true statements in the kind 
of talk we are studying, since this is how, in fact, we normally speak 
of thoughts, feelings and wishes, and whoever says they are not true 
is either talking absurdly or is using language in some more or less 
eccentric manner. We must, in the first instance, consider the "psy- 
chic game" as we actually play it, though afterwards there is nothing 
to prevent us from making up another game that makes it true (or 
not absurd) to say that men have no experiences, or that they never 
know if other men have any, or that they cannot tell at all what 
other men's experiences are like, that all experiences are analysable 
into sensory content or are the functions of an ego, or the like. 

It will illuminate the way in which we talk of mind and thought 
if we consider, first of all, a modern way of characterizing language 1 
which covers (on some rulings) everything that is of the essence of 
speaking and everything that distinguishes it from senseless chatter. 
This characterization is an achievement of some value, since it 
succeeds in separating very neatly all our more obviously profitable 
talk from talk whose profitableness is much more dubious. The 
characterization in question may be briefly (though misleadingly) 
described, if we say that it rules all statements to be both predictive 
and social. It lays down, we may say, th'at the function of statements 
is always to predict the future sense-experiences of the speaker (in 
actual or in hypothetical circumstances), and it also makes it part of 

1 I shall not attribute the characterization I am about to give to any 
particular person. It represents my own way of making sense of notions that 
have found acceptance in many quarters. I leave aside the question as to 
whether it is sensible to attempt to characterize language in general. 

208 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

their essence to solicit confirmation indefinitely extended in space 
and protracted in time from the reports of other people. It rules, 
for instance, that if I say: "That is a blue vase over there/ 1 I am 
looking forward to, expecting innumerable sense-experiences, in 
actual future or hypothetical situations, the sort of experiences, 
namely, that I might describe as "the view of the vase from here," 
"the view of the vase from there/ 1 "the view of the vase in such 
and such circumstances/ 1 as well as the various sorts of experience 
described as the feel of the vase in such and such circumstances, 
the noise made by the vase from such and such places and in such 
and such circumstances, and so on. And it also rules that anyone 
making such a statement anticipates that others will confirm him 
point by point, that they will evince in their utterances and their 
actions a parallel registration of the various views of the vase, as 
they place themselves here or there, as well as a parallel registration 
of its feel, its smell, its taste, or the sound it makes in various assigned 
sets of circumstances. And if enough of these expectations are satis- 
fied, including, possibly, certain more weighty ones, a man may 
make the statement confidently and say that it is true, whereas if 
too many of these expectations, or perhaps some crucial ones, are 
disappointed, he must reject it and declare it false, although a smaller 
number of disappointments may be set aside as showing only that 
some person or some place or some occasion is not "normal/ 1 Briefly, 
our characterization makes all utterances look forward to what is 
visible and showable, to what the great company of normal people 
can take in with their senses. We should, however, be making non- 
sense of the characterization we arc giving if we made it mean that 
all our statements are actually about anyone's sense-experiences, that 
they tell us what these sense-experiences will be like; to characterize 
our speaking in this manner would misdescribe it grossly. Quite 
obviously many speakers have never heard of sense-experiences, and 
even those who have heard of them do not speak about them fre- 
quently. The notion of a sense-experience is not a primary one; it 
arises only after a long course of sophistication. Only when we have 
had experience of illusion, of stage effects, of pictures and the like, 
can we be trained to differentiate (and then both hesitatingly and 
with imperfect confidence) between the various sensible aspects of 
the things before us, the vieyrs and feels and smells and tastes and 
sounds they offer us, and the concrete things themselves. And it is 
then only by a further access of sophistication that we ascribe to 
persons ourselves and others who are employing their senses on 
the things around them, an inward registration of such fragmentary 
aspects. T*he language, moreover, by means of which we speak of 
sense-experiences, is secondary and derivative: we have to describe 
them by analogy with concrete things, or by connecting them with 

o 209 



PHILOSOPHY 

the organs or other circumstances of their origin. And since there are 
always vastly many sense-experiences connected with any single 
object or quality in the environment, it is clear that such derivative 
talk must frequently be short of terms to deal with its material. 
Quite plainly, therefore, it is silly to maintain that we are always 
talking about sense-experiences: our talk ranges over trees and 
mountains, pantomimes and dynasties, protective colouration and the 
falling birth-rate. And when we do talk about sense-experiences, we 
do so (presumably) expecting other sense-experiences which will serve 
to confirm what we are saying, so that if we had to speak about these 
sense-experiences, we should have again to talk about another set, 
and then again another, and so on indefinitely: so that, if we can't 
talk about something without talking about the sense-experiences 
connected with it, we obviously can't talk about anything. 1 But, 
nevertheless, though this is so, there can be no objection to our saying 
that when we talk about sundry objects we are always expecting 
(in the sense of being "ready for") certain sets of sense-experiences, 
in actual or in hypothetical circumstances. 2 And it may also be 
profitable to say that this is all that makes our performance a genu- 
inely linguistic one, and that it is only in so far as we are expecting 
such a set of sense-experiences that we are really saying anything. 
We may thereupon go on to identify the meaning of an utterance 
with the sense-experiences we anticipate when we utter it ; there is 
no harm in doing this, provided only we remain clear that we are 
then using the word "meaning" in an unusual manner. For ordinarily 
we say that we are giving the meaning of a statement, occurring in 
a given language, when we either paraphrase it in the same language, 
or render it in some parallel language. Thus we say that Der Hahn 
kraht means that the cock crows, or that "The cock crows" means 
that the male fowl cries jubilantly, but no one would normally say 
that either statement means anything about anyone's sense-experi- 
ences. 

As we pointed out previously, the characterization we have 
sketched is valuable in that it covers very comprehensively all our 
most obviously profitable talk in any field whatever. For language 
may be said to be good to the extent that it can be moored to data 
that are hard and clear, as well as to the extent that we can readily 
secure acknowledgement of the same or similar data from other 
men around us. Now in so far as language looks forward to, and 
terminates in sense-experiences, it is pre-eminently in this position. 
For most of our sense-experiences are hard and clear; it is in fact 

1 The dialectical objection I have put could, no doubt, be evaded in several 
ways. But if so, other unplausibilities would present themselves. 

* To be ready for A if B presents itself is a common attitude in men and 
animals. 

2IO 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

very largely this hardness and this clearness which makes us say 
that they are sense-experiences. And if we take the trouble to station 
other observers in appropriate positions, it is not hard to train them 
to respond to the same sensible aspects as we do, so that they readily 
confirm us in our judgments. We mark the essential character of 
the case by saying that it is possible to show a sensible object to 
another person, so that the world of sensible objects is a showable 
or public world. We do not half so readily speak of showing other sorts 
of objects to our auditors: we do not readily say that we have shown 
tfte number three to someone, or the vice of lechery, or the experience 
of being sad. And while we may, in various accesses of metaphysical 
sophistication, feel shaken in our confidence that the sensible aspects 
of things are public and ostensible, we are none the less quite posi- 
tive about this in more ordinary attitudes. The way things look 
from various angles, the way things feel, the taste and smell and 
sound of things; all these, we like to say, are features open to inspec- 
tion, which can be pointed out or introduced to others quite as 
readily as they can be noted by ourselves. And in so far as speech 
connects itself with public matters, to that extent, assuredly, will it 
be able to fulfil its function of communication. And there is yet 
another advantage in characterizing our speaking in the suggested 
manner, in that it rids us, ever so happily, of a host of obstinate 
questions, which suddenly become mere interrogative forms to which 
no definite meaning has been given. Thus we find ourselves delivered 
from the problem as to whether objects which seem red or straight or 
fragrant to the majority of well-constituted observers in normal 
situations, really have the sensible properties they seem to have, and 
we need not feel troubled if some observers are tempted to describe 
them differently. For when we call an object red or straight or frag- 
rant, we do not look forward to anything but a set of sensible aspects, 
not uniform but varying with circumstances, and sometimes so 
typical as to tempt us to describe our object in some different and 
incompatible manner, and we likewise expect reports (or their 
equivalents) from other people, which will show that similar data 
and similar temptations have occurred, and have been dealt with, 
in their experience. So that we cannot reasonably ask if anything 
really has a given sensible property when everything so far has 
been in harmony with expectation (or quite sufficiently so) and 
seems likely, from every indication, to go on being so. And we also 
find ourselves delivered from any obligation to turn our whole 
ordinary world topsy-turvy, in order to find room for the many 
queer objects and processes postulated by modern scientists, for as 
long as all we say about them involves only an expectation of future 
sense-experiences, we can very readily accommodate them in our 
ordinary environment. And we shall also find our references to the 

211 



PHILOSOPHY 

past freed from their insolubly doubtful character, once we have 
rules that we can only talk about things past and done with, in so 
far as we look forward to experiences which are still to come. 1 It 
would seem, in fact, that, if we characterize our speaking in the 
proposed manner, only those forms of utterance will cease to be 
linguistic performances which are in any case profoundly troubling 
and embarrassing. We shall have no ground, happily, for drawing 
distinctions between staircases which are there continuously and 
staircases which are only there when someone uses his senses on them. 
Nor shall we have any encouragement to seek eerie differences be- 
tween real observers, who are really able to confirm our findings, 
and visionary familiars who pretend unbrokenly to be actual persons. 
Such very different ways of talking will not genuinely correspond to 
differences in any actual situation, but one will be describing ordinary 
things in an ordinary manner, while the other will merely be adorning 
and clouding a commonplace meaning with a set of baseless, if 
exciting, pictures. 

Our concern in this paper was, however, with our talk about 
mind and thought : we have to see how this is affected by the charac- 
terization we have given. Quite obviously if our talk about mind 
and thought involves an expectation of what we ourselves will 
sensibly register in the future, and what other confirming observers 
will likewise sensibly register, then what we look forward to in such 
talk is (almost entirely) the sense-experiences that are also expected 
when we talk about people's behaviour, including, of course, in such 
behaviour the things that we or they might say. For it is clear that, 
whenever we attribute certain thoughts to other people, we do so 
expecting them to behave in a certain manner or to say certain things, 
if not in the circumstances as they actually are, then in some set of 
circumstances that we can readily imagine. Thus a man who is not 
revealing his thoughts as things are, might nevertheless reveal them 
if he were questioned, or if he were subjected to hypnotism or torture, 
or if he were placed in some situation of emotional stress, and so 
on. And in so far as our expectation is limited to future sense- 
experiences of our own, there is (with one exception) nothing else 
that we can expect when we say that a man is thinking certain 
thoughts. And if, on the other hand, we attribute certain thoughts 
to ourselves, then plainly the only sense-experiences we expect 
other people to have, either actually or in hypothetical circumstances 
in order that they may be able t& confirm us in our statement, are 
the sense-experiences involved in the observation of our actual 
behaviour. For though we may say many things about our own 
immediate acquaintance with our own subjective activity and the 

1 Whether these references should be freed from their insolubly doubtful 
character is, of course, an arguable question. 

212 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

like, we do not expect other people to confirm us in our statements 
in any other way than by taking note of what we do or say. All 
that is public about our own thoughts are the actions in which they 
express themselves, or would express themselves in favourable 
circumstances. 

We have, however, made one exception to our above generaliza- 
tion that all talk about mind and thought involves the expectation 
of our own or someone else's behaviour: this exception is that of 
sense-experiences themselves. For, as we saw, there is a sense in 
\vhich it is possible to show our own sense-experiences to other 
people, or to observe their sense-experiences. We do not hesitate to 
say that you can see the very view that I am seeing, can hear the 
very note that I am hearing, can smell the very odour I am smelling 
and so on: all you have to do is to place yourself in an appropriate 
position on a suitable occasion, and use your senses (which we shall 
suppose normal) on the things before you. But if some people refuse 
to talk in this manner, if they prefer to distinguish between the 
public aspect seen, heard, smelt, etc., and the inward registration 
of that aspect, and if they prefer to reserve the name ''sense-experi- 
ence" for the latter and to predicate "inalienable privacy' 1 of it 
they may do as they choose, since sense-experiences are an artificial 
notion then the one exception to our generalization lapses, and 
all statements about anyone's mind (to the extent, of course, that 
they are covered by our characterization) involve only the expecta- 
tion of his actual or conditional behaviour. 

There can be little doubt that it is very profitable, for many pur- 
poses, to treat our statements about mind and thought as if they were 
adequately characterized in the manner we have outlined. For all 
that is firmly etched and clear, all that is readily graspable and 
communicable in our experiences, are the modes of action in which 
they show themselves. It is through modes of action that we "pin 
them down" for others and even for ourselves, and it was certainly 
through modes of action that we first were taught to talk of them. 
And while there are modes of speaking which suggest that there is 
something arbitrary in the association of a state of mind with the 
actions which "express" it, a closer study of our utterances soon 
disperses such suggestions, while it also shows us why they tempt us. 
For so much is behaviour part of what we mean by various kinds of 
mental states, that we should never say that someone had them 
unless we were prepared to credit* him with at least a readiness for 
certain lines of action. Thus we should not say a person had a certain 
purpose unless we credited him with some tendency to do things that 
advanced that purpose, though what he did would vary naturally 
with what he thought or knew, with other purposes, with laziness 
or disability and the like. Likewise, we should not say a man had 

213 



PHILOSOPHY 

judgments or discriminations unless we thought that these (if they 
were relevant) would have some tendency to shape his conduct or the 
way in which he carried out his purposes. And even in feeling and 
emotion we suppose the presence of a blind but forceful working to 
quite definite goals to flee, to break, to cherish and the like 
associated with a characteristic gamut of more or less intelligible 
symbolic ways of getting rid of energy. And though it is not easy to 
sketch in words the multitudinous symptoms which enter into the 
behavioural "anatomy" of this or that experience, and though no 
over-precise account would accurately reflect our use of language, 
still it is perfectly possible to make headway in enumerating the 
very various outward marks that would afford evidence whether 
slight or weighty or conclusive of a given mental attitude. And we 
are only tempted to suppose that the relation of a mental state to 
its "expressions" is arbitrary or contingent because, in technical 
parlance, it is many-many, because a given state of mind might 
show itself in countless different symptomatic ways as circumstances 
varied, and because a given action may be symptomatic of vastly 
many different states of mind. And we are tempted to regard beha- 
viour as an outer mask of hidden, inner processes because any single 
action proves so little, because we have to supplement it with so 
many other tests so seldom applicable in practice before we can 
be sure of its significance. We have, as we say, to be with people for 
a period, to try them in many situations, know the codes and laws 
they live by, determine generally what they want and know, before 
a given piece of action occurring in a special setting can be interpreted 
aright. And an absolutely accurate reading of a transitory mental 
state would only, in fact, be genuinely possible if we could instan- 
taneously switch a man, as on a revolving stage, from one situation 
to another, securing by such a course of magical experimentation 
a range of evidence never normally available. And the mask-analogy 
also tempts us since human beings, being high-grade social organisms, 
are capable of a species of behaviour foreign to lower levels, and, 
known as "acting" or "dissimulation" : we can, with suitable motives, 
do what iron or grass or gadflies never systematically do, and counter- 
feit the traits of other types of creatures, or of creatures otherwise 
placed than we are. But the acts of the dissembler are only super- 
ficially counterfeit, and his mask only superficially a mask, for in 
reality they are perfectly appropriate expressions of a subtle intention 
to impose on others. And we, who have given them a more common- 
place interpretation, have merely erred in our diagnosis: we have 
not been stopped by the outer shell, but have gone beyond it in the 
wrong direction. And even dissimulation must, by its nature and its 
motivation, discover itself through countless trivial signs we 
can read falsity in the saccharine of certain smiles and voices and 

214 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

must also be capable of a crucial "break-down" in actual or imagin- 
able circumstances. It is plain, lastly, that we can characterise 
language in the way we have suggested without making nonsense 
of a man's reports on his own thoughts, and without failing to make 
abundant and good use of them. For we may simply take it as a 
fact that a man who has a certain attitude and who is ready to be- 
have in certain ways or was ready a few seconds previously is 
also in a position to utter things indicative of his readiness for such 
behaviour. The readiness for such utterances may in fact, be added 
on, as a sort of supplementary symptom, to the symptoms of the 
attitude in question. The readiness for what we call angry behaviour 
supplements itself, as it were, with the readiness to say, either at the 
same moment or a short while afterwards: "I feel (or felt) angry," 
and similarly with belief or pleasure or decision or any other mental 
attitude. And while such statements are not always linked with a 
readiness for the lines of action that they normally portend for 
we may both dissimulate and misexpress our attitudes yet our 
whole training in honesty and our mother-tongue has made of them 
most reliable indicators. The so-called introspective judgment 
resembles, on our characterization, the sign given by some instru- 
ment that it is or has been in a certain state, that it will presently 
explode, that its contents are about to boil, that it reached a maximum 
temperature of 80 Fahrenheit, and so on. And, granted our analogy, 
we can very well see why a single introspective judgment counts 
so much more in our interpretation of behaviour than even a very 
large number of other signs and symptoms. We can understand, for 
instance, why the isolated statement: "I don't really believe in him," 
uttered no doubt with an appropriate air of sincerity, will instantly 
outweigh a multitude of signs of credulous zeal. For all such signs 
are characteristic of many mental attitudes, whereas the utterance 
in question is characteristic of comparatively few. And if we are 
ever in a position to discount the possibility of dissimulation or 
serious misexpression, then the five simple words "I don't believe in 
him" are equal in weight to an indefinite number of other signs of 
disbelief. No wonder, then, that we say that a man can know much 
more about the things that go on in his own mind than anyone else 
can infer from his behaviour, and that we value a reliable person's 
statements about his own experiences much more than an accumula- 
tion of reports from outsiders. All this is quite intelligible even if we 
characterize our linguistic activities in the way we have suggested, 
and even if we say that anyone talking about mind and thought is 
looking forward to the same set of sense-experiences that he would 
expect if he were talking about behaviour. 

We see, accordingly, that the general characterization of our 
speaking activities, in terms of expected sense-experiences and of 

2*5 



PHILOSOPHY 

public confirmation, goes far towards covering what we do when we 
speak about mind and thought. Whenever we do so speak, we antici- 
pate certain situations, sensuously presented, which we can show 
to others, the situations, namely, which are also expected when we 
speak of someone's actual or dispositional behaviour. And there is 
also a complete one-to-one correlation between any state of mind 
we talk of and a sufficiently long and varied sequence of behaviour. 
There is, we may readily assure ourselves, after some imaginative 
experimentation, no state of mind that would not give itself away 
conclusively in revelatory behaviour if the appropriate "set-up 1 "' 
(or series of "set-ups") could be applied to test it. And our character- 
ization certainly covers the majority of the scientifically and practi- 
cally significant features of our talk about mind and thought. The 
question, however, arises, whether there are not some features of 
our normal, non-philosophical talk about mind and thought which 
reveal themselves as extraordinary, anomalous, senseless on the 
characterization we are studying, and which nevertheless seem per- 
fectly natural and understandable on some other characterization. 
If this can plausibly be shown, then it might become reasonable to 
say that the characterization we are dealing with doesn't really fit 
the game we are playing when we talk about mind and thought, and 
that an alternative characterization fits this better. And while it 
would no doubt still be possible to adhere to our original character- 
ization, even if there were things in our language that wouldn't readily 
square with it, still it might prove as frivolous to do so as deliberately 
to describe walking as a very plain form of dancing, or to describe 
hotel-keeping as a very unusual form of stealing in which one gave 
bed and board to people who were perfectly willing to be robbed. 
Now it is not at all hard to show that there are indeed several features 
of our ordinary talk about mind and thought which don't very readily 
accord with the characterization we have just been sketching, but 
which accord better with another characterization which is at once 
older and much less arresting. 

The first of these features consists in the obvious fact that we have 
the very strongest possible disposition to deny that anything in the 
realm of mind and thought is the same as anything in the realm of 
behaviour, that we are even disposed to say that they are "poles 
apart," are "utterly different things," and so forth. And it is further 
plain that, in our talk about our own talk on this matter, we stub- 
bornly refuse to admit that anyone who says that anyone has a 
certain state of mind is saying at all the same thing as anyone who 
says that anyone is behaving in a certain manner. And even when 
elementary grounds of misunderstanding are removed, and a man 
sees that a given experience is not to be correlated with a single, 
fixed piece of behaviour, but with indefinitely many lines of conduct 

216 



UJN MIJNLJ AJNU UUK KMOWJLEDtjJb; O * 11 

which vary according to circumstances and the purposes of the agent, 
he may still firmly refuse to identify some experience he is speaking 
of with any such assemblage of lines of behaviour. He may even go 
further and proceed to characterize them differently; he may say 
that the mental state he is talking of is "actual in its entirety" at a 
given moment, and that it cannot therefore be the same as a set of 
lines of behaviour of which the majority only would exist if suitable 
circumstances were present. Now this refusal to identify a mental 
state with a set of lines of behaviour is certainly anomalous on the 
characterization of language given above. For in most other cases 
when I make two predications of the same subject, and when I 
anticipate exactly the same set of sense-experiences when I utter 
the one as when I utter the othei, I do not hesitate to say, with a 
little persuasion, that my two predicates cover precisely the same 
meaning, that they are in fact the same predicate, and that I am 
saying the same thing when I utter the one as when I utter the 
other. And if my various statements and locutions only mean what- 
ever they mean because I look forward to certain sets of sense-experi- 
ences, then it is hard to make out why I say that I am meaning two 
quite different things when I am only expecting one set of sense- 
experiences, and why I further go on to characterize these two 
things in different and incompatible terms. Of course, there is no 
absolute reason why, when we are expecting a given set of sense- 
experiences, we should not talk in two different ways, in the one 
case about a mental state and in the other case about certain possible 
lines of behaviour, and why we should not also be permitted to say 
that these things are quite different and have different properties. 
For surely it is notorious by now that there is no fixed, universally 
applicable grammar of the terms "same" and "different," that we 
have to fix their use arbitrarily for different contexts, and that we 
do in fact do so very differently in different cases. 1 But what is obscure, 
on the characterization we are studying, is the whole purpose and 
value of such an apparently senseless and anomalous distinction, 
which seems to do nothing but complicate and overload our diction. 
It is as if we instituted two scores in football, a try and a trio, which 
were invariably achieved in the same circumstances and consisted 
of the same number of points, but which were nevertheless declared 
by football fans to be mysteriously different in essence. But if, on 
the other hand, it were possible to eliminate such senseless compli- 
cations, and to describe our linguistic performances in such a way 
that it became intelligible why we drew the distinction in question, 
then the new characterization thus arrived at would be better and 

1 I am not ignoring the fact that whether "same" and "different" are 
used in different senses itself depends on the language we are using. But in 
my language we certainly do use them in different senses. 

217 



PHILOSOPHY 

more helpful than the one we have been studying, and would cer- 
tainly deserve to supersede it. 

There is also a further anomaly in our talk concerning mind and 
thought which should certainly make us question the adequacy of 
the characterization we have given. We say frequently that it is 
possible in certain circumstances to know "what an experience is 
like," and we also say that the only or the best way to know what an 
experience is like is to be put in some situation where we actually 
have that experience. (We have written "only or best" in the last 
sentence, for, while most people would say that we couldn't "ha^e 
the faintest idea" of what some experience was like unless we our- 
selves had had it, or some similar experience, there seem to be others 
who think it possible that we may sometimes imagine what an 
experience is like, even if we ourselves have never had it. Thus some 
have maintained that, in our earliest infancy, we were somehow able 
to interpret gestures and facial expressions as indicative of love, 
hostility and so forth, before we ourselves had experienced any 
attitudes of the sort. And many have said that God knows what 
temptation feels like, though He Himself can never be tempted. But 
even those who say such things would probably be ready to admit 
that the best way to know what any state of mind is like is to have the 
state of mind in question.) And everyone would admit that a man 
may know exactly how a terrified man behaves, how a man in love 
behaves, and how a man in pain behaves, without knowing in the 
least what the corresponding states of mind are really like. And just 
as we might show a man what sort of colour puce is, or what a tumour 
on the brain is like, by putting him in an appropriate situation and 
saying: "There, that is what I mean. Now you know what sort of 
thing I am speaking of," just so, in order to make plain to a man what 
certain states of mind are really like, we also put him in an appro- 
priate situation, which is in this case that of actually having the 
states of mind in question, and then say to him: "There, now you 
know what fear (or love, or pain) is really like." And we say, further, 
that it is possible to know that someone is afraid, or that he is in pain 
or in love, quite as well or even better than the man in question, but 
we do not regard it as at all an easy thing to know how he feels just 
as well as he does, and certainly not to know it better than he does. 
We readily say that a man may know exactly what his own states 
of mind are like, and many would contend that he cannot err in this 
respect, but we seldom or never say that an outside person knows 
exactly what a given person's state of mind is like, and we admit 
that such an outside person may fall into the gravest errors in this 
field. And we also talk as if the outside person's judgment was not 
merely fallible, but also indirect: we don't suggest he knows the 
state of mind itself, but say he forms a picture of it, a picture based 

218 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

confessedly on his own experiences, and often far from accurate. 
And when at times we even make a showable model of some inner 
state or object, as of an after-image or a number-form, or of a land- 
scape seen by someone afflicted with Daltonism, we obviously don't 
think this picture is the same as what it stands for, and we readily 
treat it as a very indifferent likeness. Plainly we talk as if an outside 
person were much less favourably placed for knowing what a state 
of mind is like, than the man who has that state of mind. And while 
we might perhaps concede, as a bare possibility, that an outside 
person might have the same immediate and inerrant knowledge of 
what other people's states of mind are like, as those people have 
themselves, still we should not regard this as anything to be ordinarily 
hoped for in our present life, but should rather conceive it as the 
prerogative of a God or of ourselves in some exalted or non-normal 
state. 1 But we may note, however, that while we do not, in our 
utterances, hold out any clear hope that we may some day be in a 
position to set our sympathetic picture beside the original state it 
represents, in order to make sure how far it tallies, we still do not 
talk with certain philosophers, as if the whole business of knowing 
what other people's states of mind are like was hopeless or impossible. 
We often say that we have formed a fair notion of someone's feelings, 
or that we have a very good idea how something seems to someone. 
And in the case of people we have known for long, and with whom we 
are sympathetic, we often say that we know exactly how they feel, 
and no one thinks this anything but a pardonable exaggeration. If 
we may summarize the situation, our whole talk on these matters 
seems, on the one hand, to attribute a certain deep privacy to our 
inward thoughts and experiences this is not a figment of philosophers 
but has its roots in ordinary diction but also, on the other hand, to 
see no great difficulty in what is practically the overcoming of such 
privacy. We talk as if A had access to some object to which B has 
no access, but as if B could form a picture of the sort of thing to 
which A alone has access, by contemplating a different, but like, 
object to which he, B, alone has access. And we also suggest that it 
is possible for B to come to have a very good notion of the sort of 
experience A is having, he may be clear as to its general character, 
he may, in favourable circumstances, even approximate to knowing 
it exactly. 

Now it is evident, on trie characterization we are dealing with, 
that these ways of speaking are painfully anomalous: we can indeed 
make use of them, but it is not so easy to explain why we use them. 
It is hard to see, in the first place, why we should choose to say that 

1 It will be noted that the immediate, inerrant knowledge we are considering 
goes beyond telepathy, if this be regarded merely as the immediate knowledge 
thai people are having certain experiences. 

219 



PHILOSOPHY 

someone who is having an experience should know what it is like, 
in any better manner than an outside person. For, as we saw, the sense 
experiences we anticipate when we speak of someone's state of mind 
are not at all different fron the sense-experiences we anticipate 
when we speak of his behaviour. Now such behaviour is a public 
matter, it can be shown to others as readily as the passing of a train, 
and it seems strange that we should say that someone ready to 
behave in certain ways should know more intimately what this 
readiness (or the experience verbally connected with it) is like, than 
any other person. It would, in fact, seem reasonable to maintain that 
other people, who can dispassionately watch the symptoms of some 
state appearing one by one, could form a better notion of the nature 
of that state than anyone merely ready to display these symptoms, 
and certainly not disposed to watch them. A man who has a state of 
mind may have the advantage, as we saw, in knowing that he has 
this state of mind, since he can vent his attitude in introspective 
judgments without first needing to pay heed to outward symptoms, 
but this will not involve an advantage in knowing what this attitude 
is like. And, on the characterization we are studying, it is odd that 
we should choose to talk in terms of picturing what can't be known 
directly, or of guessing at the nature of something hidden, when all 
that we anticipate when we use these phrases are sensuous data not 
differing at all from those anticipated when we speak of objects and 
processes admittedly public. We may say, perhaps, that our talk of 
privacy and indirect approaches is nothing but a metaphor and a 
figure, but we must then deal with the difficulty that, on the charac- 
terization we are studying, the metaphor is pointless and the figure 
quite unhelpful. 

We are, accordingly, led to doubt whether the characterization of 
the linguistic game we have before us, can really be regarded as a 
satisfactory one, and we are also led to consider whether it would 
not be preferable to characterize the same activities in a different 
manner which leads to fewer anomalies. To illustrate the situation 
with a comparison, it might be possible, with some straining, to 
describe the actions of a group of people playing cricket by saying 
that they were playing a very unusual sort of croquet, in which 
there were only two curious, hopelessly narrow arches, and in which 
most of the players had decided to dispense with a mallet while two 
were using very queer ones. But, even if we got as far as this, we 
should still be faced by anomalies without number, in accounting 
for all of which our whole characterization would undoubtedly be 
strained to bursting. Whereas all these anomalies would be very 
simply smoothed over if we merely recognized that the game we 
were describing was very different from croquet, that it followed 
quite different rules, and if we then used the ordinary name "cricket" 

220 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

to describe it. Now the case may be similar in regard to our talk 
about mind and thought. Here we have found it very difficult to 
make sense of all the things we say if we characterize our performance 
as nothing but an expressed expectation of future sense-experiences. 
Whereas if we said that someone talking about mind and thought 
looked forward, certainly, to sense-experiences which were also views 
of behaviour, but that he looked forward to them merely as outward 
signs of what he was talking about, and that if what he was talking 
of was his own he never hoped to be able to show it to anyone else, 
though he might very well succeed in making them take note of 
something like it, and that if, on the other hand, what he was talking 
about belonged to others, he never expected to know it directly, 
though he might know something that was like it, that would enable 
him to form a more or less accurate picture of it ; such an account 
of our activities in speaking about mind and thought would certainly 
be complicated, and it would neither be novel nor subtle, but it would 
undoubtedly be the best and therefore the "truest" one since there 
seems to be no other standard in these matters if it led to the fewest 
difficulties and anomalies. And it would not, in fact, appear to be 
burdened by any peculiar difficulties, since it represents more or 
less faithfully, what we ordinarily say we are doing when we talk 
about mind and thought, and our ordinary talk on these matters 
does not often lead us into quandaries. It is true that philosophers 
sometimes tell us that we never have "good reason to suppose that 
anyone else's experiences resemble our own, since direct comparison 
is excluded by the nature of the case. But we may point out simply 
that such talk is out of harmony with usage, that its introduction 
serves no useful purpose, and that it is both correct and customary 
to say we have good reason to infer a similarity of experience from 
a sufficient similarity of behaviour. Any similarity of conduct between 
two persons in a similar situation would be said to give us some 
reason to suppose that they have like experiences, a closer similarity 
of behaviour (seen, of course, in connection with the whole situation 
and the whole history of the person) would be said to give us good 
reason to believe in such a similarity, while if the outward similarity 
were carried further we should simply say we knew that such an 
inward similarity existed. And while we might allow philosophers 
to dissuade us from saying tjiat we know this sort of thing, since all 
our judgments on these matters are reversible, still it would scarcely 
be a sensible proceeding to let thm ruin all our diction in this field, 
when they admit that they have absolutely nothing to offer us in its 
place. And it would certainly be ridiculous to let ourselves be 
frightened by their wilful nihilism at a level where we find ourselves 
both using and developing a serviceable introspective language, 
where men are constantly drawing similar distinctions and making 

221 



PHILOSOPHY 

use of sinilar analogies in telling others how they feel. The game of 
talking about people's minds must, after all, proceed in some manner, 
it must be possible to play it if one follows certain rules, and it is 
surely quite unwarrantable to try to break it up merely because it 
isn't some superior game whose rules we cannot even formulate. We 
can see, however, why some philosophers have imagined that we had 
no reason to suppose that other men's experiences were like our own: 
they were confounding our linguistic situation in regard to mental 
states with our linguistic situation in regard to shapes and colours 
and other sensible qualities. For we can prove two colours to be like 
if we can set them side by side and see their boundary growing hazy, 
and we can prove two sizes to be like by placing one upon the other 
(or both beneath some common measure) and making sure that 
neither sticks out anywhere. And there are similar ways of proving 
likenesses in the case of other sensible qualities. And just because we 
cannot prove the likeness of two men's experiences in such a manner, 
we feel inclined to say we have no reason to suppose them similar. 
Whereas the game of finding likenesses must necessarily vary 
according to the objects likened, and where experiences are in ques- 
tion there is obviously no place for either juxtaposition or super- 
position or any similar process. And if some people say we aren't 
talking scientifically where we can neither superpose nor juxtapose, 
then our talk about the mind must simply forfeit the honour of being 
called scientific by such persons, and it may forthwith join the ranks 
of countless forms of profitable talk that have been hounded from 
that stuffy tabernacle. We may further draw attention to all those 
siren voices of philosophers who say that even trees and mountains 
are not public objects, that you can never see the same tree that 
I see, but at best a similar one. These statements have at least the 
merit of showing that our talk of public objects is not so different 
from our talk about experiences as some have thought it; in both 
cases men are taught the use of certain words and phrases by being 
placed repeatedly in certain situations until we find them using 
them appropriately. Only whereas we say that we have introduced 
them to the same object in the case of trees and mountains, we only 
say that we have introduced them to a like object in the case of 
mental states. 

We have, accordingly, pointed to a j possible characterization of 
our talk about mind and thought which makes it more than the 
expressed anticipation of our own future sense-experiences. But we 
must also emphasize the fact that our two characterizations are not, 
after all, so very different. For on neither characterization do we 
suggest a possibility of taking leave of our own psychic skins (as 
it were) and entering anyone else's. And on both characterizations 
our knowledge of other people's mental states is mediated by our 

222 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

knowledge of their actual or possible behaviour, and in speaking of 
such behaviour we do no more than look forward to our own future 
sense-experiences. And on both characterizations it is possible to 
admit that we do a sort of thing called variously "forming a picture 
of X's feelings," "entering imaginatively into X's state of mind," 
and so on, a picturing or imagining never destined to be consum- 
mated in more direct acquaintance. But on our former characteri- 
zation the function of such picturing or imagining is an utter 
mystery: it is not at all clear what it really is, nor what we hope 
to gain by it. Whereas, on our latter characterization, this picturing 
and imagining is the pivotal feature of our references, for while 
behaviour may furnish us with the occasion for attributing certain 
thoughts to people, it is our inward picturing and imagining, based 
on our own past experiences, which furnishes us with the material 
for such attribution. And we have, moreover, another strong reason 
for preferring the latter characterization of our language to the 
former: that it accords much better with our moral sentiments and 
obligations. For the majority of these sentiments and obligations 
are concerned with other people's inward thoughts and feelings: 
we must abstain from doing something that will cause another person 
pain, we must not say things that will give another person an 
incorrect impression, we must not punish another person for what 
he did not really mean to do t and so on. Now if we follow our earlier 
characterization, and make the whole function of language, even 
where its subject-matter is mind and thought, the anticipation of 
our own sense-experiences, then most people would say (though some, 
no doubt, would deny it) that this did make a difference to their 
moral sentiments and obligations. For if to talk of your pain does not 
differ understandably from talking of your screamings and writhings, 
many people would deny that there was any reason why I should 
not proceed to hurt you if I found it amusing. And if to talk of your 
delusion or your inward intention does not differ understandably 
from talking about certain types of behaviour, then many people 
would be inclined to say that it is a matter of total indifference if 
I deceive you, or if I blame you for something you never meant to 
do. And the inclination to say such things is strengthened rather 
than weakened by adhering to the proposed characterization, and 
it is in fact only in so far as we insensibly slip back into our old way 
of talking about our talking, that our moral life recovers. And since 
we must beware of talk which saps morality, or which makes it 
easier for us to evade essential obligations, we have an additional 
reason, quite unconnected with considerations of linguistic propriety, 
for characterizing our talk about experiences in the ordinary manner. 
It will, however, be worth our while, before we accept it finally, 
to see how far the characterization we have proposed affects the 

223 



PHILOSOPHY 

treatment of philosophical problems. For it is one of the great 
merits of the characterization we were previously considering that 
it threw immense light on the nature of philosophical difficulties, 
and that it opened up entirely new techniques for dealing with them. 
Briefly, it separated the traditional problems of philosophy into two 
clear-cut classes : there were, in the first place, questions which were 
basically of the same sort as the questions raised in science and 
everyday life, questions which looked forward to appropriate sense- 
experiences for their settlement; and there were then left over, in 
the second place, questions which no set of sense-experiences could 
conceivably decide, and which would make no difference to anyone's 
experience, however they were answered. The question as to the 
finitude or the infinity of the spatial universe may perhaps be given 
as an instance of the former type of question, whereas the question as 
to whether relations exist between or in their terms might be given as 
an instance of the latter. And it has then been suggested that we 
should regard all questions of the latter type as basically linguistic 
(though the questioner will not necessarily say this): they arise 
because our way of speaking confuses us or dissatisfies us, because it 
suggests absurdities or falsehoods, or because it fails to take account 
of some resemblance or relation that has suddenly claimed our 
notice. And our difficulties vanish when we clearly understand their 
basically linguistic character, when we see why certain ways of 
speaking have dissatisfied us, and when we have either altered them 
to suit our needs, or have gone on using them with a clearer con- 
sciousness of their inadequacies. Thus in our problem about relations 
our difficulty may be classed as basically linguistic since there is 
certainly no set of sense-experiences more in favour of one theory 
than the other. And as long as we stick to sense-experiences, we have 
absolutely no difficulty in understanding how things manage to be 
related, how books, for instance, lie on tables or skyscrapers are 
taller than steeples. It is only when we start tearing relational words 
from their contexts and staring at them, that we suddenly begin to 
wonder what sort of entities they stand for, and are then led to picture 
these entities as bridges between things, or pointers within things, 
or searchlights radiating from things, and so on. And all these are 
pictures which produce no greater clarity, and which may suggest 
many unanswerable questions. But such perplexities vanish when 
we truly apprehend the grammar of relational terms, how they 
actually function in linguistic operations ; we are then free to talk of 
relations as we like, and no way of talking need ever worry us. 
Now, on the characterization of language that we first considered, 
not only are all problems about abstract categories relations, 
causes, predicates and the like to be relegated to the basically 
linguistic class, but also many philosophical problems about mind 

224 



ON MIND AND OUR KNOWLEDGE OF IT 

and matter, their "real existence" and their "real qualities." For all 
these are admittedly questions whose solution cannot be hoped for 
as the outcome of any future set of sense-experiences. And we must 
account for such questions by saying that they only trouble us 
because we push our use of language beyond significant limits, 
because we talk confusedly as if we might have sense-experiences 
that we plainly couldn't have, as if we might one morning catch our 
staircase stripped of secondary qualities, or see the souls of others 
and their secret thoughts. And we only ask such questions (we shall 
have to say) because they superficially resemble questions that have 
genuine answers, questions about the real or ideal nature of the Loch 
Ness monster, for example, or the waterways on Mars. But, on the 
characterization of language we have sought to recommend, it will 
not be possible for us to treat this class of questions as basically 
linguistic merely because we cannot settle them by any set of sense- 
experiences. For, on our characterization, we can talk of things that 
cannot ever be sensuously or otherwise presented in our experience, 
though something like them may be. And so it will be a substantial, 
and by no means merely a linguistic, issue if we ask whether other 
people really have the inner states we think they have, or whether 
they are merely soulless mechanisms, which behave as if they had 
them. And there might likewise be substantial though not soluble 
questions about the real being and the real qualities of material 
substances, although we have not shown this in the present article. 
There are, in fact, on the characterization we have recommended, a 
class of questions neither basically linguistic nor capable of solution 
by the outcome of our sense-experiences: we may, perhaps, refer to 
them as "questions insoluble by virtue of the nature of the knowledge- 
situation." Now, on some views, the mere fact that our characteriza- 
tion entailed such questions, would be a weighty reason for rejecting 
it. But we prefer to argue that it satisfies a deep linguistic instinct in 
us to distinguish firmly between questions about abstract categories 
and questions about mind and matter and their real being and 
qualities. We have the strongest tendency to say that they are 
very different kinds of questions, and while we feel quite grateful 
to someone who can show the former type of question to be basically 
linguistic, we feel, not gratitude, but only outrage, if someone tries 
to do this in the latter type of c^se. And the whole slightly contemptu- 
ous shading of our use of the term "scholastic" bears witness to our 
deep feeling that those who quarrel about substantial forms are not 
really quarreling about substantial issues, whereas we have no 
similar feeling about the mind-and-matter problems of the post- 
Cartesian epoch. And there can be little doubt, furthermore, that 
differences in regard to these issues have gone together with important 
differences in the general attitudes of men and groups, and that they 

p 225 



PHILOSOPHY 

have exercised an invigorating or depressing influence both on our 
scientific and on our practical activities. So that it is not profitable, 
nor in harmony with our verbal instincts, to say that these problems 
are basically linguistic. And some, dominated by aesthetic and 
religious interests, would doubtless find it preferable to have per- 
manent mysteries somewhere, rather than to feel that ours is a world 
where everything can be found out. And we may note, further, that 
though we cannot speak of solving any of the mind-and-matter group 
of problems, we may nevertheless say, quite properly, that we have 
reason to entertain this or that opinion in regard to them. Thus if 
the world we live in were as filled with providential marvels as some 
have thought it, we should certainly have some reason for believing 
in its basically spiritual character. And we might similarly argue that 
the many weird findings of physicists in the present century have 
made a robust faith in matter much more difficult, and have given 
us some additional ground for taking refuge in idealistic theories. 
We have therefore no good reason for abandoning our characteriza- 
tion merely because it yields us some insoluble problems. 

We have not, however, recommended a characterization of 
language merely for its own sake, but as a prelude to the treatment 
of certain basic problems in the philosophy of mind. For, once we 
have made plain how we propose to talk about mind and thought, 
we may then go on to deal with a number of issues which confront 
us in this field. There, too, we may find our problems sorting them- 
selves into various groups. Some, it may be, will prove to be basically 
empirical, awaiting nothing but appropriate observations for their 
settlement. Some, on the other hand, may prove basically linguistic, 
being really rather questions as to the least confusing and most 
profitable way of talking than the factual questions that they seem 
to be. And some of our questions, finally, may be substantial 
questions which are nevertheless insoluble owing to the nature of the 
knowledge-situation. And in regard to these we may discover some 
reason for embracing one opinion or another. But all these topics 
must be left over for another article. 



226 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

PROFESSOR H. F. HALLETT 

Prima facie knowledge is an ineradicable monster. Conceived as a 
relation of a mind to objects extrinsic to it, it is chimerical: for know- 
ledge, as such, is of the real, i.e. of things as they are in se; but the 
prima facie form of knowledge precludes this. Its object is a thing 
apprehended ab extra, i.e. as referred to a subject to which it is 
extrinsic. To seek to escape this impasse either by making the object 
intrinsic to the subject, or the subject a function of the object, is to 
reject the prima facie character of knowledge as a relation of corn- 
present terms. The incoherence of prima facie knowledge is that its 
object must be both extrinsic and intrinsic to mind extrinsic as inde- 
pendently real, intrinsic as known yet can be neither', not extrinsic 
since thus its inseitas is occulted, not intrinsic since thus truth is mere 
appearance. And this chimaera becomes a monster because knowledge 
is also ineradicable. We cannot know that knowledge is impossible ; 
and, though we may be in doubt about its extancy, that very doubt 
is epistemic in form. It is our acceptance of the demands of know- 
ledge that lies at the basis of our doubt ; and this applies not only to 
legitimate doubt about the extancy of knowledge, but also to 
chimerical doubt about its possibility. Doubt is an indication of 
knowledge, which is thus ineradicable. 

What, then, are the characters of prima facie knowledge ? 

(1) It is a relation subsisting between a mind and a thing extrinsic 
to it: as we say, a relation of subject and object, of a knowing mind 
and a known thing. But this relation is asymmetrical for knowledge 
belongs to the mind as an "affection" of the subject with respect to 
the object or known thing. The thing known must be unaffected by 
the epistemic action of the subject. Thus: 

(2) Prima facie knowledge is mental: it partly constitutes the 
nature of the mind that is epistemically "affected" by what is ex- 
trinsic to itself. 

But the asymmetricality of the relation may also be viewed from 
the standpoint of the thing Jmown: in Cartesian terms, knowledge 
is a relation of the "formal or subjective essence" of a thing and the 
"objective essence" or idea of it in the knowing mind. Here the action 
belongs rather to the thing, which manifests itself to the mind by 
means of a given "presentation". Its knowability is its ability to 
manifest itself to mind. Thus : 

(3) Prima facie knowledge is the manifestation of what is inde- 
pendently existent. 

227 



PHILOSOPHY 

This ineradicable monster, therefore, is at once a relation of two 
terms, a constituent of the nature of one of them, and a vehicle to it 
of the nature of the other. And prima facie knowledge can tolerate 
the suppression of none of these characters in the attempt to 
naturalize its monstrosity. The candid philosopher must squarely 
face its prima facie incoherence, and not seek an escape by the ways 
of scepticism, idealism, realism, or positivistic phenomenalism. For 
the sceptic argues on grounds intrinsic to that which he decries : he 
knows that knowledge is impossible. The idealist, emphasizing the 
mentally constituent character, and muting the others, must make 
of the distinction of knowledge and illusion a matter of degree rather 
than of kind for both are "ideal contents" capable of no more than 
ideal "reference to Reality 1 '. The realist, emphasizing the existential 
transcendence of the object, and muting the others, is involved in 
difficulties about the manner in which this transcendence is conveyed 
to the knowing mind, which no more goes out of itself, or ceases to 
be mind, in knowledge than it does in illusion. The positivistic 
phenomenalist burkes the issue and swallows the monster in- 
continent. 

But, it may be said and if it has not often been said, it is com- 
monly assumed that since, in the end, the possibility of knowledge 
must be accepted, we might as well simply accept the "fact", and 
recognize that knowledge is a unique relation actually possessing 
these monstrous characters. Even so shrewd a philosopher as my 
teacher, Pringle-Pattison, described "dissatisfaction with the form 
of knowledge" as itself "chimerical" 1 though, it is true, he was 
thinking of the results of that dissatisfaction in Bradley's attempted 
reduction of the duality of the cognitive relation to the identity of a 
sort of "sentience" in the Absolute, and not dissatisfaction with the 
form of prima facie knowledge. Dissatisfaction with the prima facie 
characters of knowledge need not be chimerical because the idealist 
is willing to neglect the idealistically inconvenient existential trans- 
cendence of the object, any more than because the realist is ready 
to slur over the essential mentality of knowledge (i.e. of the relation 
of subject and object, and thus also of the terms related). For the 
acceptance of either way must make of knowledge a chimaera. Futile 
methods of escape do not prove that escape is impossible ; and there 
remains the possibility that prima facie knowledge is a monster the 
characters of which are subject to correction by the derelativization 
of the relativity of the human predicament ; so that in knowledge as 
such these prima facie characters are reconciled. In short, prima facie 
human knowledge may be no more than pseudo-cognizance, and its 
monstrosity the measure of its pseuditas. Dissatisfaction with a 
chimaera can hardly be chimerical; but satisfaction with a recognized 

1 Man's Place in the Cosmos, p. 122. 
228 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

monster is monstrous, however easy and natural it may be for the 
human monster to regard his monstrosity with humanistic com- 
placency. What philosophical humanists have to learn is that the 
analysis and clarification of prima facie human nature and objects 
can only be truly enlightening in so far as they succeed in making 
the corrections demanded by the human predicament. Man is a part 
of that within which he labours, and which he seeks to understand; 
but he can understand it, and labour effectively in it, in so far as he 
is t no mere part or section of it, but its microcosm. 

So long as man conceives himself as an extrinsic and ontologically 
independent spectator of the real, his ideas of the nature of that real 
in which he is unwittingly involved must remain corrigible, and his 
objects infected with pseuditas. If it is denied that he is capable of 
elaborating any such "general metaphysical theory of relativity", of 
allowing for his ontological predicament, the denial involves his in- 
capacity to naturalize the monstrosity of his prima facie knowledge, 
and of his nature, and of his objects, however precise may be his 
analysis of these and their factors, however far-reaching and coherent 
may be his constructions founded on these bases. Unless man can 
understand his human predicament, and in so doing formally trans- 
cend it, his conception of himself, and of the world, must remain the 
monsters of their prima facie extancy, which analysis and construc- 
tion cannot naturalize, but only discredit as chimerical. This is the 
proper de-anthropomorphicatory work of philosophy in every 
sphere: its essence is metaphysical transcendence. 

My purpose in this article is to explore the incidence of this essen- 
tial philosophical method in respect of knowledge. The estimation of 
prima facie knowledge as "monstrous" is epistemic, and implies that 
we are capable of formally transcending it. Nothing is monstrous in 
itself but only in comparison with its norm. A lamb with six legs is a 
monster only in so far as the normal lamb is quadrupedal. Prima facie 
knowledge possesses characters disharmonious with the demands of 
knowledge as such: it diverges from the norm that knowledge itself 
dictates. It is self-condemned, for it is evidently epistemic it is not 
ignorance but imperfectly epistemic. But the self-condemned is 
thereby self- transcending ; and it is our first business to exhibit the 
self-transcendence of prima facie knowledge. 

It is to sense-perception, ajjd particularly visual perception, that 
we must look for the characteristic example of prima facie cognizance. 
We picture this as the relation of a perceiving organ to a perceived 
object spatially external to itself. Here is the perceiver with the 
organ; over there is the object. In vision, e.g. the visually percipient 
mind is conceived as being, like the eye, in the head; the thing seen 
is outside of the head and at a distance from it. To a perilous extent 
this visual analogy governs our thought about the relations of subject 

229 



PHILOSOPHY 

and object in knowledge. I will go further and say that it needs more 
care than we are accustomed to exercise not to think of subject and 
object as two objects on the analogy of the eye and the thing seen as 
they appear for another seer. In any actual perception, however, taken 
in itself, the psycho-physical percipient is not an object compresent 
with its perceptum] the only objects in visual perception are those 
seen; even the eye is no object of sight compresent with the objects 
seen the eye does not see itself, nor does the visual percipient see his 
own eye. In perception we have objects perceived, and not these com- 
present with, and at a distance from, another thing, whether a mental 
subject or the physical organ of a subject. It does not follow, how- 
ever, that the perceived objects are, as Berkeley says, "in the eye, or 
rather, in the mind" for this is, once more, first to think of the 
subject or its organ as one of the objects, and then to place the visual 
objects in it: a curious farrago of inconsequences. This oscillation 
between two points of view that of the percipient himself, and that 
of another percipient is characteristic not only of uncritical com- 
mon sense but also, it is to be feared, of more sophisticated thought : 
we try to think of the perception that we experience as an objective 
relation of two objects, one mental or psycho-physical and the other 
physical; and it is upon this plan that we are apt to represent to 
ourselves the knowledge that we have even of other minds, which 
plainly we do not "perceive". We think of the knowing mind and the 
mind that it knows as two psychical objects standing in the cognitive 
relation. We thus make for ourselves the very tough or, as I should 
say, insoluble problem as to how we know other minds without 
perceiving them. 

In primary perception, taken in itself, in the very act, it is possible 
to discover only one objective term, viz. the perceptum. But this, of 
course, is perceived, and we are apt to think of the perceiving as 
resident in another term, the mental or psycho-physical subject, and 
to regard this as another object perceptible but for the accident that 
it is awkwardly placed, or busy about something else. We think of 
our own perception as it might be for another percipient viewing it 
ab extra as the compresence of two things. 

But the fact that the eye does not see itself, and the fact that the 
seeing mind cannot be perceived at all, are not mere accidents easily 
made good by the use of a mirror or Appeal to common experience, 
or again, by the assignment of a different objective character to mind 
a ghostly objectivity. These facts are essential in the elucidation 
of sense-perception. The common supposition that perception is an 
objective relation of two objective terms, a mental or psycho-physical 
thing and a physical thing, is fallacious. Nor can it be corrected, but 
only rendered more sophistical, by the theory that though only the 
perceptum is objectively present in perception, yet this is by nature 

230 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

duplex or neutral being, or becoming, both the objective con- 
stituent of the percipient mind, and also an object external to him. 
The two terms of the cognitive relation cannot be conjured out of the 
one, and cognition interpreted as the formal identity but material 
diversity of two "objects": a mental presentation and a physical 
thing. Such an attempt must break down, either by an idealistic 
insistence on the ideality of the physical object (as in Berkeley), or 
by a realistic insistence on the objectivity of mind (as in Alexander). 
And in either case the distinction of knowledge and fantasy is reduced 
tb one of mere degree either of coherence or of abstraction. 

At least it ought to be so reduced; but, of course, no idealist and 
no realist is faithful in the attempt to interpret knowledge as a mere 
relation of two objective things. For Berkeley, perceiving is an action 
of the mind, and the perceptum is real as related to Divine action. 
For Bradley, the real is not "floating" but "referred" ideal content; 
though the action of referring or judging, being the action of the 
subject, cannot reach an object that is other than ideal. Alexander, 
again, identifies cognition with compresence of mind and thing, but 
only by stressing the special character of mind as cognitive, i.e. 
active as well as objective a combination of characters that is ad- 
mitted rather than explained. Neither Bradley nor Alexander follow 
Berkeley in assigning any active part in knowledge from the side of 
the known: for the one the real is ideal a passively judged; for the 
other it is the cognitively passive object of contemplation. But how 
can we know a thing, i.e. apprehend its reality, its inseitas, if in our 
knowledge it does nothing? My thesis is that if knowledge is a rela- 
tion it is a relation not of objects but of agents, and it is thus that it 
is unique. 

It will be objected, perhaps, that even if we grant that knowing 
is an action, in perception at least it has an object extrinsic to it: it 
is the action of perceiving a perceptum] so that here, it would seem, 
cognition is a relation, not of agents, but of an agent and an object. 
I reply: the question is whether this is characteristic of perception as 
knowledge, or is its characteristic defect as prima facie. Is perception 
a normal species of knowledge, or only a species of pseudo-cognizance ? 
And further, is it indeed true that even perception as cognitive is such 
a relation simpliciter t or does it essentially involve something more ? 

Let us next go to work systematically ; it has been usual broadly to 
distinguish in human cognizance two main species, variously denomi- 
nated "perception" and "conception", knowledge of "matters of 
fact" and of "relations of ideas", a posteriori and a priori cognition, 
etc., 1 though this has not necessarily meant their total separation, 

1 I am only emphasizing a broad contrast, not suggesting that these are 
precisely equivalent distinctions. 

231 



PHILOSOPHY 

either in mera experientia or in more developed types of cognizance. 1 
A distinction that does not involve a separation is the product of 
abstraction, or conceptual separation; and it is thus that perceptually 
"empty" conceptual forms (such as multi-dimensional geometries), 
and conceptually "blind" spatio-temporal sensuous contents, may be 
distinct objects of human cognizance, though they are not empirically 
authentic. Let us consider the objectivity of these diverse species of 
object : perceptual (presentational or categorial) and conceptual (pure 
or applied). The point at issue is the ground of their reality as objects 
of knowledge : for knowledge is of the real. 

(i) The Object of Perceptual Cognizance. 

The object of perception is not a "hard" given, but is of various 
degrees of givenness and intelligibility. A primitive mind may "see" 
what is to us an eclipse of the moon as its absorption by a dragon. 
The nai've observer actually "sees" only the changing contour of the 
yellow disc; the astronomer "sees" the shadow of the earth passing 
over the mountainous surface of the moon. I will here distinguish 
only two broad stages in the development of perception, which I will 
call "presentational" and "categorial", without narrowly examining 
their empirical extancy. 

(a) The Object of Presentational Perception. 

Here we may distinguish three factors of objectivity: (i) a certain 
sense-content; (ii) its spatio-temporal form; (iii) its extrinsicness. 
Opinions have differed widely about the relations of these factors: 
Berkeley was inclined to derive the second from the action of the 
self, and to attribute the third to the divine source of the first. Hume 
sought to make the second a function of the first, and either to deny 
the third or non-rationally to accept it as beyond the scope of human 
reason. For Kant, again, the first and second are inseparable, though 
the first is attributed to an imperceptible thing-in-itself and the 
second to the percipient self (or its specificity) ; the third, which Kant 
strongly asserts (for he is no subjectivist) is a function of the work of 
categorial thought, and would thus be absent from strictly presenta- 
tional perception. The presentational object, as such, is not extrinsic; 
the authentic empirical object is; though the conditions of its appre- 
hension render it phenomenal. 

I find myself in partial sympathy with all these divergent views: 
I think that Berkeley was in principle right in his attribution of space 

* "Neither of these faculties has a preference over the other. Without the 
sensuous faculty no object would be given us, and without the understanding 
no object would be thought. Thoughts without content are void; intuitions 
without conceptions blind. . . . Knowledge can only arise from the united 
operation of both. . . . (Nevertheless) we have great reason carefully to ... 
distinguish them" (Kant, Critick of Pure Reason, II, Introd. I). 

232 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

and time to the action of the self in its reception of sense-content ; 
e.g. that the distance of an object is an objectification of the action 
that must be undertaken in order to receive the sense-content. I think 
that Hume was right in making the empirical spatio-temporal form 
a function of the sense-contents as actually received. And I think 
that Kant was right in denying the independent objectivity of either 
the sense-content or the spatio-temporal form: in attributing the 
former to the action of the thing-in-itself on the self, and the latter 
to the responsive action of the self; and finally, in connecting our 
grounded attribution of the extrinsicness of the developed perceptual 
object with the activity of categorial thought. I think, however, that 
our naive acceptance of the presentational object as extrinsic is inde- 
pendent of categorial thought, and has a humbler and less satis- 
factory source in the psycho-physical constitution of the percipient 
as it is embedded in the constitution of his world. 

Everyone remembers Boswell's story of Dr. Johnson's "refuta- 
tion" of Berkeley, though I fancy that few have consulted Boswell's 
own account so as to recognize the essential point of the argument. 
"After we came out of (Colchester) church we stood talking for some 
time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the 
non-existence of matter, and that everything in the universe is merely 
ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not 
true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with 
which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a 
large stone, till he rebounded from it, 'I refute it thus.' " J I do not, of 
course, regard the argument as complete and conclusive,* but is it 
not clear as the midday sun that he was not guilty of the naive fallacy 
uniformly attributed to him of arguing that because he felt certain 
sensations the stone must be independently material? He was as 
capable as another of realizing that his sensations and feelings had 
never been denied by Berkeley, and were no premisses for such a 
conclusion. His argument is that the stone is more than idea because 
it kicks back when kicked. The sensible qualities are only the presen- 
tational accompaniments of the experienced reaction, not the ground 
of our attribution of extrinsic authenticity to the object. 

In presentational perception, then, there is apprehension of a 
physically reactive other characterized as sense-content in a spatio- 
temporal form. Reflection may suggest that the sense-content is 

posited by the other as related to the psycho-physical self, and the 



1 The Life of Dr. Johnson, sub 1763. (Some of the italics are mine.) Cf. this 
account, e.g. with the emasculated version of W. A. Sinclair in his recent 
Introduction to Philosophy, p. 62. 

2 In particular it can prove no more than that the stone is as independently 
real as Dr. Johnson's body. It thus raises a different sort of problem : is the esse 
of "kicking" per dpi ? 

233 



PHILOSOPHY 

spatio-temporal form by the psycho-physical self in respect of the 
other. If so, the whole situation is expounded as a complex of actions 
rather than as a relation of a mental action with a passive object. 
That such a situation is confused in a high degree is, of course, 
admitted indeed, contended: in particular, the emergence of objec- 
tive content from a relation of actions requires elucidation which is 
not easily forthcoming. But to take this as merely "given" is no 
alleviation; for knowledge is understanding, and not passive recep- 
tivity, and in so far as presentational cognizance is of a "given" it is 
indistinguishable from fantasy. What is "given" in knowledge, as 
given, is an epistemic privation: it can be given only as problem 
capable only of speculative solution. Only problems arising from 
sophistication can be solved by mere analysis. 

(b) The Object of Categorial Perception. 

In developed perception we pass beyond the range of the naive 
Johnsonian refutation of subjective idealism (for it hardly touched 
the essential activism of Berkeley). For presentational perception the 
perceptum is a passive spatio-temporal sensum discovered as asso- 
ciated with a power of reacting to certain of the actions of the psycho- 
physical self: for categorial perception it is an objective entity 
embodying its own modes of objective constitution and behaviour. 
It possesses not merely determinate spatio-temporal form b.ut also 
categorial form. Presentations are now the matter which categorial 
perception apprehends under the forms of the understanding; and 
as so conformed they are apprehended as things embodying charac- 
ters and modes of behaviour rather than mere presentations plus an 
associated reaction. 

By what magic, then, do passive presentations develop into epis- 
temically independent things? Their mere subjection to the cate- 
gories of the understanding, conceived as of mental origin, can hardly 
be supposed to make of them independent existents, but contrari- 
wise, must render them more fully subject to the mind, and thus 
more abjectly passive. Their apparent possession of their own proper 
modes of behaviour would seem to be more than subjection to the 
requirements of the understanding. They appear as if independent, 
but no ground seems to be forthcoming to convince us that this is not 
the mere reflection of our own mental action in so constituting 
them. They are still categorially formed "objective contents whose 
reality is in question. Thus, we must ask more narrowly: what is 
the source of this appearance of epistemically independent entity? 
Why do these objective contents, these categorialized spatio-temporal 
sensa t appear as entities independent of cognizing mind? For it is 
not sufficient to accept the "fact", especially when the analysis of 
the fact seems clearly to make of it mere appearance. In short, we 

234 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

are still faced by the problem of "knowledge": how what is intrinsic 
to cognitively active mind can be extrinsic to it as cognitum. 

With presentational perception the escape was made by the 
admittedly unsatisfactory appeal to associated experiences of reaction 
on the part of the presentation to the action of the psycho-physical 
self: the presentation is real because we cannot put our fist through 
it without damage to fist or presentation. With categorial perception, 
however, this would appear to be unnecessary, because the perception 
itself reveals the object as independent. As categorial in constitution 
it is intrinsically independent, at least in appearance. Yet the cate- 
gorial form is no more than a form of objectivity. The categories are 
ideal are imposed on the presentational content by the mind, and 
not real modes of action in a thing independent of the mind. Only if 
they can be attributed to, or derived from, real action in the cognitum 
can their mental imposition validly authenticate the independent 
existence of the object. Only on the supposition that we can appre- 
hend the active reality of things, can we assign to the categorialized 
objective content of developed perception a genuine appearance as 
existentially independent of cognizing mind. 

Now we cannot do this by way of object, either as categorial form 
or as presentation: action makes no objective appearance it is the 
inseitas of the agent, and not his appearance ab extra. Objective 
behaviour or relative motion is not action in se. But this is no suffi- 
cient ground for metaphysical scepticism, save on the assumption 
that knowledge is essentially of objects which is the very matter 
under discussion. On the contrary, it is a ground for questioning this 
assumption especially as knowledge is of the real, and the reality of 
a thing is what it is in se, and not what it appears to be ab extra. 
Knowledge of a thing is of its inseitas, i.e. of its agency; and the fact 
that agency is no object is no ground for a denial of the possibility 
of knowledge in the sphere of categorial perception. We know that 
its objects are authentic because, and in so far as, we find our psycho- 
physical selves in co-operation, or in conflict, with their physical 
action. There is active community between the psycho-physical per- 
ceiver and the perceptum (for even conflict is based upon underlying 
co-operation) ; and it is this non-objective community of agents that 
makes of categorial perception a form of knowledge, and no mere 
presentation. 

This was, indeed, the vital root of the Johnsonian "refutation" of 
Berkeley: what disabled it was* that it made the reaction of the 
stone an addition to the presented content, whereas the content is 
through and through objectively conformed to it. Space and time 
are objective expressions of active co-operation and obstruction; 
and in categorial perception the categorialized objective content is 
conformed to the community of action in self and other. The cate- 

235 



PHILOSOPHY 

gorial forms are expressions of the active community of knower and 
known. Community of action lies perdu in the forms of space, time, 
and the categories, as their very life; and it is by virtue of this 
essential knowledge of agency that the objects of categorial percep- 
tion are apprehended as real appearances, and no mere objective 
contents. 

(2) The Object of Conceptual Cognizance. 

The peculiarity of purely conceptual knowledge is that it is con- 
cerned with an object not as such "given in experience". Though it is 
applicable to properly selected "matters of fact", its object is not 
itself an extant entity. "The triangle" is not a triangle; nor is "man" 
a man. The objective content of the conceptum may be primarily an 
abstraction from perceptual objects, though secondarily it may be a 
construct from such abstractions to which no perceptual object con- 
forms. But whatever may be its source, in conceptual knowledge the 
objective content is posited, or, as we say, "defined". 

But it is not thereby deprived of reality for if it were we could 
not legitimately speak of conceptual knowledge: this would be mere 
fantasy. Nevertheless, concepta are not real in the sense in which 
percepta are so conceived : they are not physically reactive or extant 
in the categorial system of nature. In what, then, does the reality of 
the object of conceptual knowledge consist? I reply, essentially in 
this: that it has "a will of its own" we cannot do as we like with 
it : it dictates its own properties. The novelist can make his fictions 
do as he likes (though within limits if he is to retain some measure 
of realism and credibility) ; but having posited "the triangle" Euclid 
was at its mercy, for its properties follow not from his will but from 
the self-determining essence posited. Doubtless, in positing "the 
triangle", i.e. defining it within the framework of the axioms and 
postulates, he also by implication posited all its properties; but not 
by an act of his own will or choice. He did so by reason of the neces- 
sarily determinate "will" of that which he posited; and we are all in 
the same position with respect to the conceptum. 

Conception, then, is knowledge because its object acts inde- 
pendently of the conceiver's conceiving action: the conceiver is com- 
pelled to accommodate his intellectual action to the requirements of 
the conceptum. The same is in principle true of forms of conceptual 
cognizance concerned not merely with spatial conformation but also 
temporal and categorial character. Though space, time, and the 
categories as formally objectified in perceptual and conceptual 
objects are expressions of the action of the psycho-physical self as 
"affected" by the action of the physical other, it is the action of the 
other that determines their precise modalities as so objectified. 
Similarly, though in perception the "matter of sense" is an expression 

236 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

of the action of the physical other as "affecting" the action of the 
psycho-physical self, it is the aptness of the action of the physical 
self to that of the other that determines its precise character. With 
conception, "matter of sense" is neglected; though when we seek 
to interpret conception as a relation of a mental action to an extrinsic 
object we are bound to give it formal entry as empty or occult 
quality. In conception, as such, we give ourselves over entirely to the 
intrinsic action of the conceptum. There is, in fact, no extrinsic 
"object", but a formal "agent". "The triangle" is not a triangle, but, 
if I may so say, "triangulation". 1 

I have not so far distinguished pure conceptual knowledge from 
applied conception, partly because science aims at an ideal of pure 
conception, and partly because actual scientilic knowledge is of 
various kinds according as it is concerned with various orders of 
perceptual entity. Science represents the effort to pass from per- 
ception to conception, and as it does so it more or less excludes 
presentational content from its analysis. It must also be remembered 
that empirical science clings to its perceptual terminus a quo in a 
manner in which mathematics does not. It is thus presented with the 
problem of what exactly distinguishes applied from pure mathe- 
matics which is its formal ideal. Ideal science would seem to transcend 
the empirical. Broad's suggestion of an "occult quality" somehow 
corresponding with tactual sensum indicates his realization of this 
problem, but can hardly be said to resolve it: is not the tactual 
sensum sufficiently occult ? 

It has often been said that "reality" is no predicate: a conceived 
hundred dollars, says Kant,* has the same predicates as the real 
hundred dollars in my pocket; it cannot be precipitated into being 
by the addition of a further character. But neither is it an "occult 
quality" attributed to an objective determinate form as the implica- 
tion of its epistemically independent "givenness". Nor can we make 
of it a sort of formal predicate or objective counterpart of a mental 
act of "reference" or "projicience". It is nothing objective, either 
empirical or occult quality, or formal product of judgment. What, 
then, is "reality"? I reply, it is intrinsic action: that is real which 
acts, and action, as such, is no object of contemplation. You will, 
perhaps, object: if reality is action, and thus no object of contempla- 
tion, how does it come aboyt that we contemplate objects at all? 
And if this is illusion, what in the name of truth is "knowledge" ? 

The aetiology of objectivity is a subject too complex and difficult 
for me even to attempt to deal with it here. I shall assay that problem 
elsewhere, and perhaps with but indifferent success. But as to know- 

1 It is thus that its "functional" definition is more purely conceptual than 
the Euclidean, which is, in part at least, formally perceptual. 
* Critick of Pure Reason, Pt. II, ii, Bk. II, iii, iv. 

237 



PHILOSOPHY 

ledge, prima facie and essential, there are some things that can, and 
must, be said. 

(a) Prima facie knowledge. 

Even here, where knowledge takes the form of contemplation of 
objects, we have seen that in so far as it is authentic the "object" 
is no mere "objective content" constituted of sense-material in 
spatio-temporal and categorial form, but this realized as appearing 
agent, i.e. as objective expression of action. The pertinacious attempt 
of phenomenologists to exclude action from the real is not merely 
futile, but destructive of the very essence of knowledge. That this is 
not generally understood is due to the preconception that if action 
is admitted it must be in some objective form, as presentation or 
entity: some "force", "effort", or "energy" with its own peculiar 
objective form that can be contemplated. It is excluded from the 
picture very much as Hume excluded the "self", because he could not 
discover it among the passing "perceptions". The denial is thus a 
flagrant petitio principii, for this preconception is precisely what is 
being denied. The result is that in prima facie knowledge the very 
thing that makes it "knowledge" is excluded because it cannot be 
contemplated; for what makes it contemplation, viz. the objective 
content presented, is extraneous to, and by no means the intrinsic 
inseitas of, the cognitum. It is for this reason that I have sometimes 
said that mere data are mere ablata: "blind spots" in the field of 
cognition; and that actual data are always problemata objects of 
knowledge the nature of which is not wholly intrinsic, whose objective 
content is incapable of certifying truth because their action is extrinsic 
to their objectivity. This defect is partly overcome in conceptual 
knowledge, where the defined conceptum dictates its own properties 
but still only partly in so far as the original conceptum is a given (or 
taken), and not dictated by some primordial causa sui. 

(b) Essential Knowledge. 

It follows that essential knowledge, as such, is a relation of the 
action of a mental agent and the action of an agent in some sense 
other: either a physical agent, or another mental agent, or even the 
knowing agent itself under reflection. The action of the other is not 
contemplated as objective content indeed, all such content must 
be set aside as a privation of essential knowledge, and thus as 
problem. A world fully known, i.'e. understood, would contain no 
mere data, but would be "transparently"! intelligible, flowing without 
spot of blindness from the primordial self-active nature of a perfectly 
intelligible causa sui. Prima facie knowledge is a privation of this 

1 The inverted commas indicate my realization that "transparency" is an 
objective character. 

238 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

"transparency", and its contemplated objects, in so far as they are 
data, are defects masquerading as contents ; and in so far as they are 
categorial, are agents masquerading as objective things. That they 
are able to do so is due to what in them is not mere datum, viz. in- 
trinsic action ; and this must be known if they are to be in any sense 
cognita, i.e. real, and not mere fantasy. And mere fantasy is nothing 
(the essential truth that underlies Locke's dictum that all knowledge 
is from experience). 

What, then, is the nature of this essential cognitive relation of 
agents ? Generically speaking, it may be described as community, but 
its special nature varies with the status and nature of the agents. 
The knowing agent is, of course, always mental, for mind is by 
definition cognizant. But the cognitum may be either physical or 
mental, and either self or other; and the special character of the 
community that is essential knowledge varies accordingly. 

(i) Knowledge of the Physical Self. 

It is a curious common-sense delusion (apparently shared by many 
scientists) that our knowledge of our own bodies is similar to our 
knowledge of other bodies. In fact, however, we know them, not as 
external objects of perception, but as the physical actions that we 
animate. In any act of vision, e.g. the organ of vision is not itself seen 
as visual datum or object; it is a visual object only for some other 
percipient. And, in general, the operant body is no object to the mind 
that animates it. The agelong failure to understand this arises from 
the fact that the physical agents of perception are so differentiated as 
to appear as localized organs, so that, e.g. we see other parts of the 
body, feel the eye, and so on, and are thus prepared to regard the 
absence of the eye from vision, of the touching hand from tactual per- 
ception, etc., as mere accidents easily made good. But, as I have said, 
this is no accident, but essential to the perceptual predicament. The 
body is no extrinsic object in which the mind lives "as a sailor in a 
ship". The mind animates the body, and its animation of it is its 
knowledge of it. There is community of mental and physical agency 
which from the point of view of body is animation, and from the 
point of view of mind incarnation or embodiment. The naive error of 
uncritical common sense and science is to read the cognitive relation 
of mind and body as an objective relation of two objects whence 
arise many of the insoluble, because illusory, problems of psycho- 
physics. "Ne'er canst thou see th*e seer of seeing": and it is equally 
true that the organ of sight is invisible, and in general the organ of 
perception imperceptible in the psycho-physical act of percipience. 

(ii) Knowledge of the Physical Other. 
Unlike the physical self, the physical other makes objective appear- 

239 



PHILOSOPHY 

ance, and it is commonly supposed that this appearance ab extra is 
itself the essential nature of the cognitum in se; or, at least, that by 
correction that leaves the objectivity untouched the essential nature 
of the physical other may be estimated from its prima facie appear- 
ance. Locke's attempt to reconcile himself to this absurdity by 
postulating a material substance as extrinsic support of perceptual 
appearances was rightly discredited by Berkeley in so far as this 
substance was conceived as an unpresented, and even unpresentable, 
object (though Locke toyed with the notion that other, more apt, 
minds might even "perceive" the matter that supports the per- 
ceptual objective contents not clearly realizing that, for such a per- 
cipient, material substance would itself be the quality of some more 
occult substance). In place of this substance, Berkeley posited Divine 
action as the source of perceptual appearances. In this he was, I think, 
in principle right ; but not in assuming that that action is essentially 
mental or immediately divine. Just as the physical reality of an eye 
is not attributable to the mental action either of the mind that ani- 
mates it or immediately to the mind that creates it, but to its own 
physical action, so the physical reality of any perceptum is not 
attributable to cognitive action in itself, or in God, but to the essence 
in se that it is. This is in agreement with the principle that a cognitum , 
as distinct from a fantasy, is no mere objective content, but this 
known as real, i.e. as "possessing a will of its own". It is its intrinsic 
action that is its reality, It is known, therefore, as active, and only in 
so far as that action is the source of the objective content can the 
apprehension of this rightly or, indeed, in any sense, be called cogni- 
tion. Apart from this derivation the objective content is mere datum, 
i.e r cognitive ablatum, and in actuality, as confusing objectivity and 
agency, problematum. 

This, indeed, is what everyone knows in actual experience, as 
distinct from abstract epistemological analysis under the tyranny 
of a "radical objectivism 1 ' derived from the too ready acceptance of 
the contemplative emphasis of prima facie knowledge as normal or 
essential. The things that, apart from our own bodies, we know best, 
and most profoundly, are those whose relation to the mind most 
nearly approximates to that of the body: the things that co-operate 
with the psycho-physical self as responsive agents, as physiological 
correlates, apparatus, instruments, tools c materials of craftsmanship, 
and the like; and the things that we know most superficially are those 
which are mere reactive obstructions, or buffers limiting our physical 
action. Our knowledge of the physical other is essentially the active 
community of that other with the animated physical self. Where this 
is lacking there is no knowledge of even the most superficial character. 
The extra-mentality of Johnson's stone was sufficiently authenticated 
by its reaction, but he was even more certain of the reality of "his 

240 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

Tetty". Where community of action in self and other is most com- 
plete knowledge of the other is most certain and perfect, and most 
akin to love. 

(iii) Knowledge of the Mental Self. 

"Sum cogitans": in the very action of thinking, i.e. mentally 
acting conceiving, perceiving, doubting, willing, desiring, etc., I am 
real "beyond a perad venture". This does not, of course, make of me 
an object extrinsic to myself. Here we have the immediate, essential, 
intrinsic, self-knowledge of a mental agent as mentally active. We 
"enjoy", as Alexander says, our own conscious action. Unfortunately, 
however, the uncritical "radical objectivism" of the naive common- 
sense and scientific consciousness seduced Alexander into the false 
supposition that since among the actions that we "enjoy" is that of 
contemplating objects, what we enjoy is, after all, a sort of object: 
to wit, a mental object with spatio-temporal characteristics, coin- 
present in Space-Time with physical things, though possessing the 
special character of contemplating them. 

Knowledge is thus for him the mere compresence of mind and thing, 
and is cognitive only by reason of the special nature of mind as essen- 
tially contemplative. Thus "enjoyment" that began its philosophical 
career so promisingly, is involved in the disaster of being represented 
as the contemplation of contemplation the ambiguity of the abstract 
substantive more or less effectively concealing the fallacy that springs 
from Alexander's inveterate "radical objectivism". We "enjoy" 
(among other actions) contemplating; and this is a knowledge which 
has no object extrinsic to itself which we enjoy. We do not contem- 
plate contemplating ab extra the mind does not "enjoy" itself as 
object, but as action : it is self-conscious action, even when it is also 
the action of contemplating a physical other. Here knowledge is 
community in the sense of reflective self-identity: we cannot in any 
sense know, without knowing that we are knowing though it is 
true that in mera experientia conceived as merely presentational 
we seem to be able to do so. But mere presentation is not even con- 
templation. 

(iv) Knowledge of the Mental Other. 

The mind's knowledge of other minds has usually been considered 
to be more difficult to explain than its knowledge of itself, or of its 
body, or of other bodies, because, -as such, minds make no objective 
appearance by which otherness may be mediated. The knowledge 
which we have of our own minds suffers, not from this, but from the 
contrary disablement of being too immediate easily to fall under the 
prima facie interpretation of knowledge as a relation of a subject to 
an object. But if, as I have argued, knowledge as such is not thus 

Q 241 



PHILOSOPHY 

rightly conceived, but rather as community of action, it would seem 
that knowledge of other minds should be somewhat more easily 
understood than knowledge of bodies for their actions are of the 
same kind as those of the mental self, whereas the actions of bodies 
are physical. Still, it will be said, the evidence of direct community 
of minds without the interposition of bodily interaction (what is 
called "telepathy") is both rare and highly dubious, and thus wholly 
insufficient to reconcile us to the theory of its universality. 

It may easily be allowed that in prima facie experience, where 
knowledge is taken as the apprehension of objects, this is true enough. 
It is, in a sense, analytically true, for this is just what we mean by 
"prima facie experience". Even here, however, the same principle 
holds as with our knowledge of other bodies: it is not the objective 
content presented that is the true cognitum, but the action by which 
it is real. And this is never presented as object. The difference, there- 
fore, between knowledge of other minds and knowledge of other 
bodies is that bodies as known in prima facie experience are agents 
that make objective appearance, whereas minds as known are agents 
that do not appear as extrinsic objects or qualitied spatio-temporal 
contents. I must not spend time in seeking the source of this differ- 
ence: suffice it to say that it reciprocates with the epistemological 
system of reference knowledge being essentially mental, and the 
physical cognitum thus more profoundly other to mind than the 
mental cognitum. 

The special difficulty about our knowledge of other minds is thus 
only the obverse of our illegitimate assumption that knowledge is 
of objective contents. If, on the contrary, knowledge is essentially 
community of action in which at least one of the agents is mental, 
the appearance or non-appearance of spatio-temporal content is 
epistemically unimportant : it concerns only the generic nature of the 
cognitum. Direct community of mental actions in different agents is, 
in fact, far more widespread than the dubious evidence for telepathy 
would suggest though, very naturally, it concerns modes of thinking 
and percipience rather than particular mental events. There is, e.g. 
our direct intuition of the identity of the objective worlds that appear 
for each of us; for this is certainly not the result of inferences, 
sophistical or conclusive, but a direct expression of active psycho- 
physical community. It even goes so far as to satisfy us in common 
life (though perhaps illegitimately) that the sensa of different men 
are identical in content: e.g. that the content that I call "red" is the 
same as that which you call by the same name, and that we thus 
have more than the name in common. Yet for this, on objectivistic 
principles, there is no evidence whatever: what I call "red", for all 
we know, may be what you call "the sound of a trumpet", or some 
content that lies beyond my conception. On the other hand, com- 

242 



THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE 

munity of spatio-temporal and categorial form in our objective worlds 
has never been doubted. For here "demonstrations are the eyes of 
the mind", and are indubitably common. Furthermore, the "objec- 
tivity" (as it is called) of conceptual experience that it is capable 
of being shared by distinct individual minds (and why else do we 
dispute?) tells the same story. "The triangle 11 about which Euclid 
reasons is the same conceptum as "the triangle" that his understanding 
reader conceives (however he may image it), in whatever language he 
defines it (for expression is posterior to the expressed). If the efforts 
were not so earnest, and the results so disappointing, it would be 
amusing to take note of the antics of the common-sense and scientific 
mind trying to see what its self-imposed blinkers cannot but conceal 
looking for the source of our knowledge of other minds among the 
objective contents that are but the partial occultations of our know- 
ledge of other physical agents when, in fact, our knowledge of these 
physical agents as common cognita already presupposes the effective 
community of the knowing minds. The spectacle of Hume looking 
for the self among its objects is not more odd; and if it seems other- 
wise it is because we are still thinking of the percipient body as an 
object of the percipience that animates it, and not truly as agent. 1 

* It is perhaps noteworthy that even Hume was compelled to seek the 
"reality" of "impressions" in their "force and liveliness" the nearest approach 
to action available to "radical objectivism." 



241 



ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

JOSHUA C. GREGORY 

A YOUNG boy found one of Beck's best stereoscopes, but he did not 
understand its use. When he looked through the two eye-pieces at 
the two adjacent duplicates (nearly) of each picture on each card 
he got a single flat picture, and he expected nothing more. Then the 
moment of revelation came. As he fumbled the focus onto a flat 
picture of Hamlet, the grave-diggers and Hamlet himself bulged out, 
the skull on Hamlet's palm looked like a museum piece, and the 
grave yawned like a real pit. The stereoscopic world of the Beck 
instrument had been suddenly established in the boy's experience. 

The real perceptual world, where swallows fly and daisies grow, is 
not frozen like its stereoscopic mimic, where men look like waxworks 
and waters look like glass. It is not as suddenly established in experi- 
ence as its stereoscopic counterfeit, but cumulative experience does 
establish it in each human being. 

This established perceptual world, cumulatively wrought, or 
organized, out of experiences into experience, includes what Walter 
de la Mare once disrespectfully called "dressed-up mammalia." 
Experience grows rather than constructs this established perceptual 
world, with its crowd of human beings, in each human mind, though 
the artificer analogy is often convenient. Neither the world of 
material things nor of plants nor of animals nor of men is explicitly 
reasoned into existence. The experient does not deliberately infer 
the existence of other people to explain experiences otherwise per- 
plexing. He accepts their existance because his cumulative experience 
establishes it in him, together with his whole perceptual world. 

Then this great company of "fellow humans" who "possess souls, 
not always conspicuous, and minds, not invariably attractive, and 
tongues, at times tedious," troubles philosophers and perplexes 
logicians. They are troubled because "merely inferred friends" 
seem to be such logical travesties of real ones, and yet, since their 
bodies are directly accessible to eye, finger, or ear, while their "souls" 
or "minds" are not directly known, their most significant part does 
seem to be inferred. When JacK and Jill link arms and look at the 
full silver moon, Jack has his seeing, Jill has hers, and neither experi- 
ences the seeing of the other. If Jill thinks of "Diana's foresters . . . 
minions of the moon," Jack knows nothing of it unless Jill tells 
him, and even then he only thinks his own thinking and infers, 
however unwitting his inference, the thinking of Jill. This principle 

244 



ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

runs through all Jack's experience of Jill, or hers of him. Each is 
certain of the other's seeing, but each has a private seeing which is 
not public to the other, though the moon itself seems public enough 
to be seen by anyone. The worried philosopher or logician notes 
Jack's power to feel his own pain when he is pricked, his inability 
to feel Jill's pain when a pin pricks her, his analogous powers and 
inabilities throughout countless experiences, and his absolute 
confidence in Jill's likeness to himself as a human being in spite of 
h^ inabilities. The logical plight of the firm believer in the existence 
of other people like himself has received a special terminological 
description. He can introspect his own experiences, he cannot 
extrospect those of others, yet he believes as firmly in what he cannot 
extrospect as in what he can introspect. Jack cannot know Jill's 
feelings or thoughts directly as he does realize directly the tuck of 
her arm in his. He seems to infer the most important part of her, 
she of him, and any two persons seem to be in the same logical 
plight. If the existence of other people fundamentally like one's self 
is thus inferred, then it seems certain and is actually only probable, 
which is logically distressing even if the probability is high. The 
logical plight does not trouble common sense because ordinary 
experience is blind to the fact that it does infer much of its friends. 
The insistent logician who exposes the inferences must, however, be 
humoured, and the philosopher's demand for justification of the 
inveterate belief in the existence of other people must be heeded 
and, if possible, met. 

The logical discomfort goes if the alleged inference is falsely 
presumed. One man can see another jump, or he can hold the other's 
hand or hear him speak. If a human being does, in fact, detect 
another's pain or thought or purpose or any other apparently non- 
extrospectible item as directly as he can watch jumps or feel hands 
or hear words, he does not infer the minds of his fellows any more 
than he infers their bodies. We might, conceivably, know one another 
in this direct way without being aware of the fact. Immediate 
intuitions of apparently non-extrospectible items might be diffused 
imperceptibly through our experiences of one another, or such 
intuitions might be numerous enough to assure belief in one another's 
existence. Philosophers have tried to remove the logical discomfort 
by diagnosing various forms gf such intuitive insights in our experi- 
ence of one another. Telepathy is^a tempting model for these pre- 
sumed intuitions. The removal oJ any intrinsic difficulties in such 
telepathically conceived intuitions or in any other forms of presumed 
insights does not, however, remove the logical discomfort. Since we 
seem not to have the alleged direct intuitive knowledge, it is, in any 
case, presumed. If we have to infer that we do not infer our friends, 
then the logical discomfort and the fundamental problem remain. 

245 



PHILOSOPHY 

Our knowledge of one another has been traditionally assessed as 
analogical. This dispensed with the intuitional attempt to infer 
away the distressing inferences. The discard still seems to be en- 
joined on any attempt either to justify our firm belief in the existence 
of many human beings, or, at least, to take the sting out of any 
logical discomfort over inferred friends. 

An insurance agent in his office greets his client, Mr. Smith, and 
arranges an insurance policy for him. The sense of man's mortality 
suffuses either mind without any conscious explicit realization of 
the logician's pet proposition, "All men are mortal." The agent 
could think in the sense of this proposition if he had never glanced 
at a primer of logic or consciously formulated the statement. He 
also accepts his client as a man in the same automatic unconscious 
way. The prospective death of the client will probably be con- 
sciously entertained at some point, or points, of the interview, but 
not as an explicitly logical deduction. The agent's organized past 
experience and his experience of the moment blend, or grow together, 
into a diffused, virtually unconscious, sense of Smith's mortality. 
The presumed future death of Smith is in effect an inference, for he 
is not yet dead, and his death cannot be directly known. The 
inference does not trouble the agent John Smith will die. 

The analytical scheme of logic embodies the diffused sense of 
human mortality in the explicit proposition, "all men are mortal," 
the automatic acceptance of John Smith's humanity in "John 
Smith is a man," and the virtual inference of his mortality in "John 
Smith will die." The syllogism composed by the three propositions 
has been accused of a petitio principii, of assuming "John Smith 
will die" to be an inference, though it is actually included in the 
major premiss, "all men are mortal." Logical analysis might conceal 
the inference actually made by the thinking mind. There might be 
no inference if "all man are mortal" is an inventory, for John Smith 
would be included in it. The insurance agent's sense of human 
mortality cannot possibly include the full list of human deaths, and 
is not an inventory. 

Modern logic usually handles the major premiss as "If X is a 
man, X is mortal." This merely connects being a man with being 
mortal, specifies no particular man and, since it is not an inventory, 
does not misrepresent the agent's inference about Smith as an item 
picked from a list. The logical validity of the syllogistic deduction 
is absolute, for John Smith must* be mortal if every man is mortal 
and */" he is a man. Such logical validity is easily obtained: "If X 
is a man, X has red hair," in conjunction with "John Smith is a 
man," validly gives Smith red hair. The logician's pet syllogism 
about man and mortality is both logically valid and empirically 
acceptable because men are mortal, though only some are red- 
246 



ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

haired. This is, presumably, why it is a pet syllogism, for relatively 
few empirical statements have the absolutely convincing universality 
of "all men are mortal." To demand a logically valid proof for the 
existence of other people is to cry for the moon. Even the convincing 
"all men are mortal" cannot meet this demand. 

The logical assessment of the belief in other people, as of the 
belief in their mortality, may be an inadequate analysis of the 
actual experiencing situation. It may, however, be possible to assess 
tfce situation effectively enough to alleviate, if not to remove, any 
logical distress over "merely inferred friends" and their logical 
status as probabilities. Their logical status will probably have to 
be one of probability if it cannot be one of logically valid deduction. 
If logical validity is so often secured by restricting empirical warrant, 
widely organized empirical certainties, such as the mortality or 
existence of men, may exclude logical validities. 

Anaximenes saw the air waft a thin well-spread leaf, and con- 
ceived the broad earth as a table, or lamina, resting on the air. His 
successors, with more analogical success, saw shadows cast on 
earth, and explained the lunar eclipse as a shadow cast by the earth 
on the moon. Maine calls analogy "the most valuable of instruments 
in the maturity of jurisprudence" and "the most dangerous of 
snares in its infancy." Carveth Read notes the seduction of primitive 
minds into error by analogies. The floating leaf seems to us to have 
seduced Anaximenes very easily into presuming a lamina-like 
air-borne earth. The wildness of many early analogies seems to have 
seduced Carveth Read himself into accusing "analogical thought" 
of being "imaginative only," and into confining it to "metaphors 
and similes." Maine, more soberly, recognises the value of analogy 
for experienced and circumspect thought. Early analogies were, on 
occasion, helpful: shadows on earth led early astronomy to shadows 
genuinely cast on the eclipsed moon. In all domains the analogy 
either leads or misleads, and as thought matures it applies circum- 
spect checks to analogical suggestions. 

Analogy, indeed, is a staff, perhaps the staff, of the mind. Read 
notes how prone men are to rely on analogical reasoning. Descartes 
puts this proneness well into the mind: a noticed similarity between 
two things incites presumptions of unnoticed similarities. Sydney 
Smith puts the analogical inveteracy deeply in : we can hardly help 
likening anything we see to something previously seen or conceived. 
The inveterate habit of comparison manifests in the vogue of the 
metaphor, which illustrates, and of the analogy, which convicts 
as Coleridge contrasts the two. In "Moby-Dick" a harpoon, which 
had pierced an escaped whale near the tail and was found in the 
hump years after when the animal was finally killed, is compared 
to a restless needle moving in the body of a man. This metaphor 

247 



PHILOSOPHY 

has a bit of analogy in it, for one can argue from the behaviour of 
the needle to the travel of the harpoon. This, like Paley's familiar 
comparison of a contrived universe to a constructed watch, recog- 
nisably marks the inveterately analogical habit which lies so deep 
in mental working. A historical survey of human thought and an 
analysis of human thinking reveal analogies, even misleading 
analogies, as the stepping-stones of the mind. 

If analogy is the route of discovery, as Lotze suggests, this logical 
form conforms more closely than other such forms to the actual 
process of the mind. The insurance agent's actual thinking is prob- 
ably much more like an analogy than a syllogism. If the analogy is 
not a ground of proof, as Lotze also says, the logician naturally 
enough gives it the cold shoulder, which he seems to be doing. 
Probably no logical form, which is necessarily abstract and analytical, 
can adequately render the full synthetic concreteness of mental 
process, but the analogy seems to come closest to it of all logical 
forms. The analogical assessment of the belief in the existence of 
other people does, in one respect at least, come nearest to its actual 
establishment in the mind. 

A human being experiences his own experiences, he does not 
experience the experiences of others. If the experiencer credits other 
people with pains, pleasures, sensations, perceptions of objects or 
any other non-extrospectible items, and if he does not detect these 
credited experiences directly in their accredited owners, as he 
detects them directly in himself, or as he detects the perceptible 
behaviour of others directly, he must analogically extend his own 
introspectible experiences to other people. Analogy, as Hume says, 
transfers experiences in past instances to resembling objects. The 
believer in other people credits their bodies and behaviour with, for 
them, introspectible experiences similar to those connected with his 
own behaving body. Like bodies and similar behaviour suggest 
comparable introspectible experiences. This analogical reference, 
whatever the difficulties in detail, must occur if the introspectible 
experiences of others cannot be directly or intuitively detected. 
These private introspectible experiences are clearly inferred, remain 
inferred, and their logical status is one of inference and associated 
probability. 

When the Pythagoreans correlated giusical notes, string-lengths 
and numbers, they extended these relations analogically to the 
harmony of the spheres. The push of the inveterately analogical 
habit is evident in such precipitate analogical extensions. Maine 
notes early interdictions on some food, for sanitary reasons, exten- 
sions of the prohibition to all food resembling it, and, on occasion, 
fanciful attribution of resemblance. The history of thought is full 
of free analogical extensions. History also reveals a constant route 

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ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

of the human mind through discarded or corrected and re-corrected 
analogies. The same push and the same correction of extravagances 
are evident in the analogical extension of privately introspectible 
experiences. The stars and planets are created gods in the Timaeus; 
the Athenian Stranger in Plato's Laws claims divinity for the sun, 
moon and stars; for Aristotle the stars are divinely intelligent, and 
the divinity of the celestial bodies, as gods or godlike, persisted from 
Babylonian or Egyptian lore through the Greco-Roman tradition 
ipr into the Christian era. This acme of personifying objects very 
physically unlike men discloses the power of the push behind the 
analogical extension of privately introspectible experiences. The 
early Greek mind constantly mingled the purposive into the causal, 
for the human mind inveterately reads its own characteristics into 
phenomena. Humanized animals have received the anthropomorphic 
attribution more plausibly than stars. The fable still appeals, though 
the animal actor who behaves like a man is now discredited as a 
fact. Personification, which has pervaded poetry, rhetoric and 
speech, still flourishes. Science has even been accused of clinging to 
a personified nature. Personificatory speech does attest the analogical 
habit of projecting human qualities very freely, though the accusation 
of actual belief in a personified nature is rash. The free analogical 
extension of privately introspectible qualities has been severely 
corrected and largely, at least, confined to human beings. The dog 
is credited with a modest share of human experiences, but no animal 
is now seriously regarded as a differently shaped or embodied human 
being. The belief in other people is the final and impregnable strong- 
hold of the personificatory habit. Men obviously do project their 
private experiences, and this projection, which secures the firm 
belief in other people, has manifested the usual extravagances of 
all vigorously prompted analogical extensions, and many personifi- 
cations still please where they do not convince. 

The child is usually said to recognize other people before it recog- 
nizes its own self. This would be strange if it deliberately argued 
from its own sensations or other introspectible experiences to their 
existence in others. We believe in the experiences of others because 
we have them ourselves, but not because we explicitly argue by 
analogy. Things happen as if we do analogically argue from the 
experiences connected witfy our own behaving bodies to similar 
experiences similarly connected with similarly behaving bodies. 
This is more the abstract logic *of it than the actual occurrence. 
Our own experiences are involved in a complex organization of 
experience that results in the realisation of ourselves and others. 
The child's experiences can enable it to realize other people without 
realizing its own self. Its knowledge either of others or itself, in any 
case, is defective at first and ripens with the years. 

249 



PHILOSOPHY 

Since the external world steadily enforces itself on consciousness 
(and on the organized unconscious mind) from the first, other people, 
as bits of it, naturally do so also. Solipsism is a sophisticated version 
of experience, introduced after the primary preoccupation with the 
external world, and thriving, when it does thrive, on the enigmas 
in the establishment of the perceptual world in experience. The 
growth of experience is fundamentally enigmatical, though it 
obviously does establish in us the consciousness of the perceptual 
world with its other people. The child's notion of other people 
probably begins with specially responsive bits of external reality, 
and until its experience has sufficiently matured it is natural enough 
for it to appreciate other people rather than itself. It is not necessary 
to settle here whether the child realizes other people as selves before 
it realizes its own self. The analogy, my behaving body is connected 
with certain experiences, therefore similarly behaving bodies are 
connected with similar experiences, comes close to the actual fact 
that the experiencer does believe in others because of his own experi- 
ences, but inferences drawn from the presumption that he docs thus 
argue analogically, at least in an explicit way, may err, and err 
greatly. 

The analogical extension is equivalent to supposing other people 
to behave as if they have introspectible experiences similar to those 
of any individual experient. Other people must behave as the 
hypothesis that they actually are other people requires, even if 
direct, or extrospectible, knowledge of their relevant experiences 
does occur. The others, of course, are no more deliberately argued 
into existence by the as if, or hypothetical, method than by the 
more purely analogical. In both cases organized experience estab- 
lishes the belief and a logical analysis assesses it. The logical dis- 
tress over inferred friends may be eased if they continuously behave 
like the other people they are supposed to be. The other people 
then become logically a hypothesis, and empirically an assurance 
because they so continuously and diversely verify the hypothesis 
by their behaviour. 

Grass is green, thorns pierce, and ice chills: these and innumerable 
other perceptual assents verify for each human being the existence 
of others like himself. Colour-blindness disturbs the sense of simi- 
larity among men without maiming it. Jhe vagaries of para-ethoxy- 
phenyl-thio-carbamide, which is bitter in some mouths and tasteless 
in others, also disturbs and does not destroy the sense. The confidence 
in verificatory perceptual assents can be more seriously shaken, for 
it is notoriously impossible to demonstrate that any two people 
have exactly similar sensory experiences. If A and B have inter- 
changed experiences of red and green, the colour of a boiled lobster 
being for B what the colour of the grass is for A, and the colour of 

250 



ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

the boiled lobster being for A what the colour of the grass is for B, 
then B will consistently call a boiled lobster or a ripe tomato or the 
sun's disc in a wintry sky "red," though his actual sensory experience 
will be called ' 'green" by A. If a skilled demon deftly interchanges 
the sensations of A and B as they look at a boiled lobster the crus- 
tacean will seem to each to change. This might be true, mutatis 
mutandis, for all sensory or perceptual experiences. Since no demon 
has the needed experimental finesse, the common assents cannot be 
directly tested. Though we must begin, as Eddington begins, with 
the impossibility of comparing A's "sensation of the taste of mutton" 
with B's, we end, as Eddington seems to end, with substantially the 
same visual experience for A and B of the seven stars in the Plough. 
The substantial sameness of the perceptual world for each person, 
manifested in universal assents, is a presupposition of common sense 
and an explicit postulate of logically assessed science. Experience 
contains too many perceptual assents, and happens too consistently 
as if many similar human beings have similar perceptual experiences, 
for the postulate to be more than momentarily doubted. Hermann 
Melville compares the bottom of a whale-boat to critical ice which 
supports a considerable distributed weight and soon breaks as the 
weight is concentrated. One perceptual assent cannot stand the 
verificatory strain; innumerable perceptual assents do stand it. 
Perceptual assents involve other persons in the whole reality of the 
perceptual world. 

When two farmers discuss a pig they do not appraise its fleece as 
if it were a sheep. Each human being normally treats anything as 
being what it is, and not as what it is not, though he may lapse 
unwittingly on occasions. He recognizes his own practice and the 
habit of his fellows when the logician states it in the Law of Identity, 
as it is traditionally called. 

If "every man over forty is a scoundrel," as Bernard Shaw says, 
then the author of the aphorism is a scoundrel because he is over 
forty. The deduction is logically valid, however fervent the hope 
that it is empirically false. Such logical assents cannot be shaken 
like perceptual assents, and are essential for coherent thinking. If 
Bernard Shaw is not a knave, he disproves his own aphorism because 
the knavery deducible from it is incompatible with fact. If his 
knavery, or the knavery of jny one over forty, were not so logically 
deducible, the proposition could not be checked because men over 
forty would be or not be scoundrels quite irrelevantly to its truth. 
Such logical validities as the Shaw syllogism are virtually acknow- 
ledged and followed by all normal human beings. Abnormal humans 
do so too, for the madman often argues logically enough from 
eccentric premisses to their necessarily absurd, though logically 
valid, conclusions. 

25* 



PHILOSOPHY 

When the logician analyses out such logical validities they are 
confidently acknowledged. They are implicitly acknowledged during 
intercourse, and logical assents constantly verify for each human 
being the existence of others who think as if in this respect they are 
like himself, for his fellows would puzzle him if their logic were 
perverse, and, indeed, much coherent intercourse would be impossible 
if either the Law of Identity or the Shaw syllogism were not accepted. 
The experient, of course, does not deliberately argue that logical 
assents verify the existence of others, or even realize that they dp 
so, but he does partly believe in their existence because the 
logical assents help to establish the belief. 

The alchemical writer Zosimos warned the operator, "on opening 
the cover/' not to put his "nose too close to the mouth of the jar/' 
Disobedient operators would subsequently agree that there had 
been a disgusting smell. There have been many mnemic assents 
since over disgusting smells from sulphuretted hydrogen. Shared 
memories flood intercourse and convince each of many similar 
others. Mnemic assents, like perceptual and logical assents, establish 
the belief in other people, are not argued from explicitly, and also 
involve the belief in the reality of the whole perceptual world. The 
three assents happen as if many essentially similar human beings 
exist, and they happen so often, so continuously and so regularly 
that they establish an inveterate belief in other people. If the logical 
analysis of the belief into a verified hypothesis remembers the 
enormous scope of the verification it resolves "merely inferred 
friends" into merely logical bogys. 

The three assents, either as establishers or verifiers, do not 
require or imply a set of duplicate humans. When two former school- 
fellows meet again after many years their many unshared memories 
do not make their shared recollections dim or dubious. Any two 
people, of course, have a common mnemic ground in countless 
common experiences in the bite of the east wind, for example, or 
in the twinkle of a star. Their realization, normally unreflective or 
implicit, of a common mnemic organization confirms in each, as 
experience constantly confirms, the existence of others like himself. 
Mnemic diversities need not, and do not, weaken the establishing 
powers of mnemic assents. They actually help each person to realize 
in others a mnemic organization essentially similar to his own. No 
two people have precisely the same set of recollections, but, however 
different the sets may be, each of 'the rememberers knows that the 
other remembers as he himself might have remembered if he had 
lived the other's life. Other people manifest themselves to any 
individual as if they have mnemic organizations similar to his own. 
This manifestation establishes, or helps to establish, in him a belief 
in the existence of others like himself. It establishes the belief: he 

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UJN KJNUWJLJNljr UJNfc A JN U 1 ti K 

does not argue or deliberately infer or even recognise explicitly the 
existence of mnemic organization. 

In a recurrent dream a skeleton clutched a patient of Dr. Gregory 
by the throat. Any dreamer recognizes his own dreaming, though 
not his own dreams, in the dramatically dreaming patient. Diverse 
experiences can help to establish the belief in similar others through 
the common experience involved. The dreamer, as Heracleitos 
noted, lives in his own private world, and his fellow can usually no 
more detect experiences in him than in a waxwork. The privacy of 
all individual experiences is evident in the dream because the usual 
manifestations, by which Jack, for example, learns much about his 
Jill, are absent. This privacy often obscures for one man the judg- 
ments or sensations or opinions or feelings or purposes of another, 
and may keep them as secret as any dream. Peter's belief in the 
existence of other people need not waver because he often does not 
know, or only precariously infers, what they think or feel, for he 
can place them in the same difficulty, and this very common pre- 
dicament makes all men kin. The dream is a reminder that even a 
very wholesale ignorance about other people is compatible with a 
sufficiently verifying knowledge about them. The patient could 
tell his dream to Dr. Gregory: the dream also points to the supreme 
importance of responses and communications in establishing the 
belief in other people, for the dreamer keeps his secret because sleep 
quenches his responses. 

If the approaching strangers are men, the solitary Robinson 
Crusoe realizes, they will respond to him in some human way. 
Human responses vary from kisses to blows, but each responsive 
human being recognizes his own gamut of responses in responsive 
others. In particular, as he speaks or is spoken to he discovers 
speakers who speak as he might speak if someone speaks to him. 
In gesture, speech or writing others communicate with him as if 
they are communicators like himself, or are communicated with as 
he so often is. They use words, in spite of obscurities and ambiguities, 
as if these words have the meaning for them that they have for him. 
Through all variations or misunderstandings these others respond, 
speak or write as if they have, for example, a general notion of 
"dog," or ideas concerning justice, money, democracy, fascism, and 
the like, just as he has. He can understand that if they are men like 
himself they will be mistaken at times or muddled at others. 
If these others are like himself each of them will believe in 
the other others, and they act, respond, speak and write as if 
they do. 

The lion is presumably not troubled by the problem of merely 
inferred lions. His acceptance of other lions probably does not grow 
into the explicit recognition that there are other lions like himself. 

253 



PHILOSOPHY 

In so far as he does virtually infer their joy in the chase or anger 
in the fight, if he does so virtually infer them, he presumably has no 
realization of his own inferring or of such a thing as inference. He 
may also rejoice in the chase, delight in the kill, enjoy the meal 
and feel fierce in the fight without knowing that he has joy, satis- 
faction or fierceness. Since we have no direct or intuitive knowledge 
of the lion's potentially introspectible experiences we are compelled 
to infer how much or how little he resembles ourselves. If our fellows 
were no more responsive to us than lions we should be confined to 
similar and precarious inferences about them. 

Language, preeminently among all responses and communications, 
leaves the lion for us much of a psychological enigma, or much of 
a precarious inference, and brings our fellow humans well within our 
own psychology. Our anthropomorphic tendency to project too 
much of ourselves into any animals is discouraged when speech does 
not connect us with them as it connects us with our fellows. Lan- 
guage does not merely manifest a convincing likeness between our- 
selves and others because we speak or write, and so do they. It 
discloses an enormous range of manifestation in which others 
respond as if they have experiences essentially like our own. Through 
it our perceptual, logical and mnemic assents extend vastly in 
extent and diversity. The contrast between saint and sinner, or 
between genius and fool, does not destroy and usually does not 
even weaken the recognition that others manifest to us as if they 
see colours, hope, fear, hear sounds, feel, judge, infer, conceive and 
experience in countless ways as we do. 

The wholesale verification of a hypothesis, continuously, exten- 
sively and multifariously throughout experience, seems to be the 
best attainable logical justification of our assured beliefs in the 
existence of other people who are essentially like ourselves. Experi- 
ence establishes the belief peremptorily in us for logic to assess. 
The analogical assessment comes close to the actual establishment 
at one point we believe in the experiences of others, though they 
are as inaccessible to us as the lion's, because we have experiences 
ourselves. The process can then be logically assessed, and the belief 
justified, as an overwhelmingly verified hypothesis. The presumed 
others manifest too convincingly as if they do have experiences like 
our own for belief not to swallow up presumption. 

The behaving bodies play their important part. As responsive 
bits of the perceptual world they help to establish the great belief; 
with their correlated introspectible experiences they provide the 
analogical assessment. The verificatory manifestations depend 
greatly on them language, to take one highly important item, is 
on one side largely highly elaborated and refined gesture. Through 
them, also, it is probable, the experiences which most essentially 

254 



ON KNOWING ONE ANOTHER 

constitute the others share in the inescapable reality of the per- 
ceptual or material world. 

The logical status of the others in whom every human so assuredly 
believes must be assessed as inference. The disturbing notion of 
probability, which experience so constantly connects with inferring, 
is at least alleviated, if not removed, by assessing the great belief 
as an overwhelmingly verified hypothesis. The others guarantee 
themselves effectively by manifesting so continuously, extensively 
and multifariously as if they are what they are supposed to be. 
Their guarantee establishes the belief, however uneasy it makes the 
logician. 



255 



NEW BOOKS 

The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by PAUL ARTHUR SCHILPP. (Library of 
Living Philosophers: Vol. IV.) Northwestern University: Evanston and 
Chicago: 1942. Pp. xvi -f 717. (In Great Britain: Cambridge University 
Press. 305.) 

Professor Schilpp and the sponsors of the series deserve high praise for their 
courage in including a volume devoted to G. E. Moore in their " Library of 
Living Philosophers." For Moore is a philosopher's philosopher: his writings, 
regrettably few in number, have been addressed almost entirely to a philo- 
sophical public, and the absence in them of any Weltanschauung has prevented 
their being as widely known as the writings of some other philosophers Dewey, 
Santayana, Whitehead, Russell, Croce who are appearing in the series. But 
Moore, by his teaching at Cambridge throughout twenty-eight years, by his 
participation in philosophical conferences and by his Editorship of Mind, as 
well as by his philosophically famous Principia Ethica and "The Refutation of 
Idealism" (both published in 1903), has exerted as important an influence on 
philosophical thought in Great Britain and America as any other contem- 
porary philosopher (in this volume Murphy speaks of one of his papers as "one 
of the few really decisive contributions to philosophical enlightenment which 
this century has given us") ; and a series without Moore would have seemed 
to his professional colleagues to have lacked proportion. Moreover, it is one of 
the main purposes of this series to enable the philosopher in question to reply 
to criticisms of his work, and Moore's most careful and detailed "Reply to My 
Critics" (pp. 533-677) fulfils this purpose better than several other "Replies" 
in the series besides being the most substantial new piece of writing pub- 
lished by Moore since 1912. Partly because most of Moore's critics have 
written in Moore's language, but chiefly because he has attempted to deal 
sympathetically and in detail with their arguments and has never minded 
admitting that he himself had reasoned invalidly or had changed his mind, 
his reply, and the essays to which it is a reply, seem to me one of the most 
successful attempts at conducting philosophical discussion in print with which 
I am acquainted. 

But, alas, it will not satisfy those who expect philosophers to give definitive 
answers to fundamental questions. Moore has been concerned for the last forty 
years with two fundamental questions as to whether goodness is objective, 
and as to whether we directly apprehend material objects ; and on both these 
questions Moore now confesses that he cannot decide one way or the other. 
On the former question, Moore writes (he is discussing, in connection with 
Stevenson's essay, the view that ethical statements have only an emotive 
meaning and so do not really express propositions at all) : "I certainly have 
some inclination to think that it [the 'emotive* view] is true, and that therefore 
my own former view [that ethical statements express propositions about an 
objective quality goodness] is false. ... I have some inclination to think that 
in any 'typically ethical* sense in which a man might assert that Brutus' 
action [in stabbing Caesar] was right, he would be asserting nothing whatever 
which could conceivably be true or false, except, perhaps, that Brutus* action 
occurred no more than if he had said, 'Please, shut the door.' I certainly 
have some inclination to think all this, and that therefore not merely the con- 

256 



NEW BOOKS 

tradictory, but the contrary, of my former view is true. But then, on the 
other hand, I also still have some inclination to think that my former view is 
true. And, if you ask me to which of these incompatible views I have the 
stronger inclination, I can only answer that I simply do not know whether I 
am any more strongly inclined to take the one than to take the other. I think 
this is at least an honest statement of my present attitude" (pp. 544-545). 
And on the latter question he writes: "In that early paper ['The Refutation 
of Idealism'] I really was asserting that the sensible quality 'blue' . . . could 
exist without being perceived : that there was no contradiction in supposing 
it to do so. Mr. Ducasse's view is that it cannot: that there is a contradiction 
in supposing it to do so. And on this issue I am now very much inclined to think 
that Mr. Ducasse is right and that I in that paper was wrong; my reason being 
that I am inclined to think that it is as impossible that anything which has 
the sensible quality 'blue/ and, more generally, anything whatever which is 
directly apprehended, any sense-datum, that is, should exist unperceived, as 
it is that a headache should exist unfelt. If this is so, it would follow at once, 
that no sense-datum can be identical with any physical surface, which is the 
same thing as to say that no physical surface can be directly apprehended: 
that it is a contradiction to say that any is. Now at the end of the last section 
I said that I was strongly inclined to agree with Mr. Bouwsma, Mr. Murphy 
and Mr. Marhenke that physical surfaces are directly apprehended. I am, 
therefore, now saying that I am strongly inclined to take a view incompatible 
with that which I then said 1 was strongly inclined to take. And this is the 
truth. I am strongly inclined to take both of these incompatible views. I am 
completely puzzled about the matter, and only wish I could see any way of 
settling it" (pp. 658-659). 

I have quoted these two passages at length to show not only Moore's present 
position but also the method and tone of his "Reply to My Critics." Moore 
frequently disputes the reasons given by an essayist for disagreeing with him, 
but he usually admits that nevertheless his critic's rival view may be right. 
And sometimes he suggests a modification of it which is less open to objection. 
Creative criticism of other philosophers' views has always been Moore's 
method. As he confesses in the Autobiography prefixed to this volume, his 
"main stimulus to philosophise" has always been "things which other philoso- 
phers have said," the problems suggested to him in this way "being mainly 
of two sorts, namely, first, the problem of trying to get really clear as to what 
on earth a given philosopher meant by something which he said, and, secondly, 
the problem of discovering what really satisfactory reasons there are for 
supposing that what he meant was true, or, alternatively, was false" (p. 14). 
Nevertheless, it would be wrong to dismiss Moore as being merely a derivative 
thinker: Moore's principal reason for not accepting the view of another 
philosopher is often that he has ignored an alternative possible view which 
Moore goes on to suggest or examine. That Moore in many cases is unable to 
decide between the merits of the rival views in no way diminishes the creative 
philosophical ability shown in thinking of some of them. 

It must be admitted that a demoted admirer of Moore like myself is some- 
times disappointed at Moore's stopping his discussion at the point where he 
does, when he appears to be just about to embark on something very exciting 
where his own methods would be most profitable. I will mention two cases 
of this in his "Reply" in this volume. 

In discussing whether or not a sense-datum is identical with part of the 
surface of a physical object, Moore writes as follows (pp. 636-637) : "I am now 
seeing part of the surface of my hand; and I do now not only feel sure but 
know, with regard to this object I am seeing which is part of the surface of 

R 257 



PHILOSOPHY 

my hand, that it is part of the surface of my hand. And also I do now, at the 
very same time, feel some doubt as to whether a certain object, which I am 
directly seeing [i.e. a 'sense-datum* in Moore's sense], is identical with the 
object which I am seeing which is part of the surface of my hand. But to say 
that I feel doubt as to this, is to say that it is possible that it is identical. And, if 
it is identical, then . . ., so far as I can see, I don't know that I'm not . . . both 
feeling sure of and doubting the very same proposition at the same time." 
This paradox seems to Moore "perhaps the most fundamental puzzle about 
the relation of sense-data to physical objects." And at that he stops. But 
surely what Moore knows is that what he is seeing is part of the surface of his 
hand ; what he doubts is whether what he is directly seeing is part of the surface 
of his hand. The fact that it is possible that what he is seeing he is also directly 
seeing does not make these two propositions identical any more than the fact 
that it is possible that the Professor of Imperial History is the tallest Professor 
in Cambridge makes the two propositions "I met the Professor of Imperial 
History yesterday" and "I met the tallest Professor in Cambridge yesterday" 
identical. In his "Defence of Common Sense" Moore has been at great pains to 
make clear the essential distinction between such a common-sense proposition 
as "I am now seeing part of the surface of my hand," which it is merely foolish 
to doubt, and the proposition of philosophical analysis asserting the doctrine 
of direct (sometimes called naive) realism that what I am directly seeing is 
part of the surface of my hand; and that the considerations relevant to the 
truth of the former are entirely different from those relevant to the truth of 
the latter. It is surprising that this distinction (which Murphy rightly calls his 
"major contribution" to the discussion of naive realism) is completely ignored 
here. I must also confess to disappointment that Moore elucidates his notion 
of "sense-datum" by reference to its analogy with an after-image instead of by 
reference to the fact that it is the sort of object about which I can have direct 
and incorrigible knowledge in sense-perception. 

Another place where Moore stops just when we should wish him to continue 
is in his section on "Analysis" (pp. 660-667). In reply to Langford, Moore 
explains that for him it is a concept, not the verbal expression of it, that is to be 
analysed; but gives as one of the necessary conditions for "giving an analysis" 
in his sense that "any expression which expresses the analysandum must be 
synonymous with any expression which expresses the analysans" (p. 663). 
To take Moore's example, if male sibling is given as an analysis of brother, the 
expression "male sibling" must be synonymous with the expression "brother." 
But then in the last sentence of this section he says: "It is obvious . . . that, 
in a sense, the expression l x is a brother' is not synonymous with, has not the 
same meaning as 'x is a male sibling,' since if you were to translate the French 
word/rr0 by the expression 'male sibling,' your translation would be incorrect, 
whereas if you were to translate it by 'brother, 1 it would not." And he leaves 
it at that. Surely we have a right to ask here for some discussion of the different 
meanings of "synonymous" which might also throw some light upon the 
puzzle to which Moore can give no clear solution, as to the way in which 
analysis is concerned with the verbal expressions by which the concepts 
analysed are expressed. It was Moore before the logical positivists who taught 
me and my contemporaries the importance for philosophy of considering the 
sentences in which philosophical propositions are expressed: whereas the 
logical positivists have developed their "linguisticizing" to cover all philo- 
sophy, a doctrine which, though most questionable in its extreme form, is 
obviously most suggestive and important, Moore seems to have been unable 
to advance beyond his most promising beginning. 

I have devoted so much space to trying to convey the flavour of Moore's 

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contribution that I can only comment very summarily upon his nineteen 
commentators. Two, and only two, of them Richard McKeon and V. J. 
McGill seem to me to have written quite unprofitably. McKeon complains 
that "the center of Mr. Moore's world is not things, but beliefs. . . . The world 
about which Mr. Moore writes is a world of things; the world in which Mr. 
Moore writes is a world of propositions and perceptions" (pp. 473-474) ; but 
he throws no light upon how he expects Moore to think except by considering 
propositions nor to think about the problem of the external world except by 
considering perceptions. McGill regrets that "Moore's method is, in a number of 
respects, ill suited to deal with . . . questions of practical import which, as the 
wprld advances to new crises, are increasingly felt to be the urgent task of 
philosophy" (p. 514) as if Moore ever conceived his purpose in philosophizing 
to be the same as that of Marx ! 

Six of the contributors concern themselves with Moore's ethics. C. D. Broad, 
besides critically discussing Moore's distinction between "natural" and "non- 
natural" characteristics, refutes the proof (in Principia Ethica) that ethical 
egoism is self -contradictory. Moore does not agree with Broad's argument; 
but I think that Broad and not Moore is right on the logical point at issue. 
Abraham Edel valiantly attempts to "formalize" Moore's ethical system by 
making explicit the "postulates" involved : it is not surprising that Moore finds 
himself completely puzzled by a line of approach so dissimilar to his own. 
A. Campbell Garnett discusses freedom of choice (with reference to Moore's 
Ethics) : his positive suggestions for solving the free-will problem are not con- 
vincing. H. J. Paton argues, equally unconvincingly, that goodness is essen- 
tially related to the existence of a "rational will." Charles L. Stevenson, in 
an exceedingly able essay, defends an analysis of ethical notions in terms of 
"approval" and, in particular, criticizes one of the strongest arguments used 
against a subjective theory of ethics (that, on such a theory, ethical disagree- 
ment is impossible). His essay has compelled Moore to admit (in the passage 
I quoted earlier) that some form of a subjective theory may be right. William 
K. Frankena's defence of the primacy in ethics of the concept of "obligation" 
has provoked Moore to a most elaborate discussion of the relation between it 
and goodness, in which he disavows his earlier opinion that the former can be 
defined in terms of the latter, but asserts instead a set of equivalences con- 
necting them. 

Several contributors treat of Moore's views on sense-perception. C. J. 
Ducasse ingeniously attempts to refute the argument of "The Refutation of 
Idealism" by distinguishing between "objective accusatives" and "cognate 
accusatives," and by maintaining that an object of sensation is a cognate 
accusative which exists only in the presence of the activity of sensing. O. K. 
Bouwsma, in one of the best essays in the volume, examines critically Moore's 
directions for enabling sense-data to be picked out, and concludes that the 
sense-datum concerned can only be distinguished from part of the surface 
of my hand if it is conceived as analogous to a rubber glove or to an "epi- 
epidermis." C. A. Mace also criticizes Moore's sense-data, but seems to be 
under the impression that Moore in discussing perception is trying to solve 
a problem in genetic psychology ! Paul Marhenke defends direct realism against 
Moore's objections by an argument which attempts to show that the spatial 
properties, both of physical objects and of sense-data, are "extrinsic" and 
not "intrinsic." 

Norman Malcolm, Morris Lazerowitz, Alice Ambrose and John Wisdom all 
discuss, in one way or another, Moore's most characteristic method of 
argument: A certain philosophical doctrine (e.g. that no material bodies 
.exist) entails that a certain common-sense proposition (e.g. that this table 

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PHILOSOPHY 

does not exist) is false. But the common-sense proposition is certainly true ; 
therefore the philosophical doctrine is certainly false. Malcolm's essay is an 
excellent appreciation and analysis of Moore's "style of refutation," con- 
cluding with two criticisms of it (p. 367) that it "fails to bring out the 
linguistic, non-empirical nature" of the philosophical doctrine (a point made 
also by Lazerowitz), and that "even if Moore does succeed in making the 
philosopher feel refuted, he does not succeed in curing the philosophical 
puzzlement which caused the philosopher to make the paradox which needs 
to be refuted." Wisdom's essay is an attempt to advance further than Moore 
does in curing philosophical puzzlement: it is the most constructive and sug- 
gestive but (perhaps because of this) much the most difficult work in the 
volume; and it is impossible for me to say anything profitable about it in a 
short compass. 

Of the remaining contributors Arthur E. Murphy has written a very in- 
teresting appreciation of Moore's distinction between knowing a common- 
sense proposition and knowing what is its correct analysis; C. H. Langford's 
essay on "Moore's Notion of Analysis" has (as he wished) induced Moore to 
state more explicitly his own position; and the late L. Susan Stabbing has 
contributed a characteristic short essay on "Moore's Influence." 

The 37-page Autobiography is fascinating reading to one who knows Moore, 
but it will yield little fruit to a student researching into "the psychology of 
philosophers." The volume also contains two good recent photographs (I would 
have preferred one to have been of a Moore ten years younger), and a most 
useful complete bibliography. The Editor, in his Preface, has gone astray as 
to the relation between Trinity College and the University of Cambridge: 
Moore was Professor of Philosophy (and, since his retirement in 1939, is 
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy) in the University, and was and is a Fellow 
of Trinity. My only other criticism of the Editor is that nowhere are Moore's 
Christian names stated: for the convenience at least of librarians and biblio- 
graphers he ought somewhere to have been called George Edward Moore. 

R. B. BRAITHWAITE. 



The Idea of Nature. By R. G. COLLINGWOOD. (Oxford : The Clarendon Press. 
I945-) 

This delightful and stimulating book has been prepared for publication by 
Prof. T. M. Knox from the late Prof. Collingwood's lecture-notes. It describes, 
criticizes, and inter-relates the philosophies of Nature from Thales to 
Whitehead, Jeans, and Eddington. The greater part of the history everything, 
indeed, except what relates to the latest period is treated with learning, 
originality, and brilliance. Unfortunately, modern theoretical physics, 
especially since the rise of the relativity and quantum theories, is difficult 
to understand, and it must be said frankly that Prof. Collingwood failed to 
understand it. The present writer, who is a mathematician, feels that it is 
somewhat ungracious to draw attention to the defects of a book which he 
has read with so much enjoyment and edification; but the philosophers who 
read this review will be able to appreciate for themselves the excellence of 
the main body of the work, and they may perhaps find it useful to have a 
note of some of the errors in its concluding chapters. 

(P. 144) "An attempt was made to think of gross matter as composed of 
local disturbances or nucleations in the ether, but this contradicted the 
fundamental notion of the ether as essentially homogeneous and stationary." 
This presumably refers to such constructions as the vortex-sponge model of 
Lord Kelvin, and Larmor's picture of the electron as a centre of rotational 

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strain. These were not incompatible with the description of the ether as homo- 
geneous and stationary, in the sense in which these words were applied to it. 

(P. 145) "The corpuscular theory of matter, from the physicist's point of 
view, required the assumption that all atoms had the same mass, for the 
theory regarded the atom or primordial particle of matter essentially as a 
unit of mass." It is difficult to imagine where Collingwood got this idea from. 

(P. 146) "A single physical unit, the electron." The electron is not the only 
elementary particle ; there are the proton and the positron, and most physicists 
regard the neutron and the meson also as elementary. 

(P. 146) "At an instant there is no difference between a body in motion 
and a body at rest." This is akin to Zeno's paradox of the arrow: the solution 
is seen by considering that an "instant" is not a primitive concept derived 
directly from experience, but is constructed in a rather elaborate and artificial 
way from the "durations" which are what we actually experience, and in 
which there is a definite distinction between motion and rest. 

(Pp. 150-151) The explanation which Collingwood puts forward to account 
for the fact that electrons and protons behave sometimes like particles and 
sometimes like waves, misses the point altogether. The difficulty was that 
waves spread, their energy thus becoming in course of time distributed thinly 
over large regions of space, whereas particles do not spread, but retain their 
energy as an individual and concentrated possession. The difficulty is now 
satisfactorily explained, but not in the way that Collingwood suggests. 

(Pp. 151 -152) "Modern physical theory regards matter as possessing its 
own characteristics, whether chemical or physical, only because it moves: 
time is therefore a factor in its very being, and that being is fundamentally 
motion. All bodies are in motion all the time." There is no foundation for 
this statement, statical systems being as much in evidence to-day as they 
ever were. 

(P. 153) "At every point of space there are infinite forces impinging from 
every side upon every piece of matter situated there ; and consequently, since 
these forces will cancel out, none of them will act on that piece of matter 
at all." Why should they cancel out? 

(P. 154) "An expanding universe, or even a finite universe not expanding, 
implies space around it." It does not; a finite non-Kuclidean universe is not 
like a finite part of a Euclidean universe; there is nothing outside it, for the 
simple reason that it has no outside: it is itself the whole of space. 

it is refreshing to turn from the last thirty pages, where the author flounders 
from one mistake to another, to the charming earlier chapters, where with 
secure scholarship and penetrating insight he ranges over the Greek and 
renaissance philosophies of Nature. With the late seventeenth century, the 
analysis begins to be less valuable; Newton in particular is not properly 
appreciated. 

He is not always consistent with himself, as when in one place (p. 165) 
he refers to Principia Mathematica as "a vast treatise on the logic of mathe- 
matics which laid the foundation of modern logical analysis," while in his 
Autobiography (published in 193^, the very year in which the manuscript of 
these lectures was revised) he calls it ^"typographical jargon," the "frightful 
offspring of prepositional logic out of illiteracy." 

One may demur to his final conclusion, that "natural science as a form of 
thought exists and always has existed in a context of history, and depends 
on historical thought for its existence"; but whatever may be thought of 
this and other elements in the book, everyone who has read it will want to 
read it again. 

EDMUND WHITTAKER. 

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PHILOSOPHY 

Can Reason be Practical? By H. J. PATON. (Annual Philosophical Lecture 
Henriette Hertz Trust, British Academy. 1943. Humphrey Milford. 
Pp. 43. Price 43. net.) 

There can be no reasoning without assent to a principle of reasoning. 
Such assent is pure reason. Inference is reasoning. Intuition is pure reason. 

The question and the problem, whether something is the case, are theoretical. 
The answer is a statement. The solution is a judgement. The question and 
the problem, whether to do something, are practical. The answer is a com- 
mand. The solution is a volition. Judgement is only one of two species of 
assent and dissent. The other is volition. 

Inference and intuition are species of judgement. Inference is theoretical 
reasoning. Intuition is pure theoretical reason. Pure reason can be practical 
if and only if reasoning can be practical, if and only if volition as distinguished 
from judgement can be reasoned. 

It can. 

Aware that Hume denies what I affirm, I am not aware that anyone else 
has ever asked the question thus interpreted. Not Aristotle in his doctrine 
that syllogism can be practical. Not Kant in his doctrine that the will is 
nothing but practical reason. 

How does Professor Paton interpret the question? 

"Intelligence is sometimes equated with reason, but at the present stage 
we had better regard it as a wider power, of which reason, in the narrow 
sense, is only a particular manifestation" (pp. 5-6). Again, "it may be wise 
at the present stage to regard reason as the power of intelligence so far as 
this power is concerned with the apprehension of necessity' 1 (p. 8. cf. pp. 20- 
22). This leaves us to wonder, perhaps whether reason exhausts intelligence, 
certainly not whether intelligence exhausts reason. There might be practical 
intelligence without practical reason. There could not be practical reason 
without practical intelligence. Yet "the claims of reason to be practical' ' 
are "its claims to manifest itself, not merely in theories, but in volitions 
and actions" (p. 5). 

We speak of intelligent, also of judicious, action and volition. And, while 
in my sense of "practical" the expression "practical judgement" would be 
self-contradictory, there are other senses in which it would be neither self- 
contradictory nor even arresting. Judgement can be about action and can 
influence action. On either or both counts judgement might be called 
"practical." If, however, "practical" is to mean "about action," then 
"theoretical" ought to mean "about judgement." Not even philosophy, much 
less judgement, is exhaustively divisible into theoretical and practical. 
Judgement may be chemical, botanical, and so on. Nor with the meaning 
"influencing action" ought "practical" to be simply opposed to any but the 
negative adjective "not practical." 

For Professor Paton, as for Kant, the will is a faculty of conscious con- 
formity to law. "All things in the world are governed by law." Man "also 
acts in accordance with his concept of rules or laws. It is in this that he shows 
practical intelligence or a rational will. It is by this that his conduct ceases 
to be animal behaviour and becomesL human action" (p. 10). Here, besides 
action, is judgement, including ethical judgement, about action. Where is 
volition? Simply because you, besides proceeding in accordance with laws, 
have concepts of these laws, you might be said to proceed in accordance 
with your concepts. No doubt Professor Paton, no doubt Kant, means more 
than this. "To avoid the possibility of misunderstanding it should be noted 
that man does not show intelligence merely in recognizing that his action 
falls under a rule or is one of a kind. . . . What I am maintaining is that man 

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wills his action as falling under a rule, and that this is the characteristic of 
all intelligent willing, and indeed of willing as such" (pp. 11-12, cf. pp. 21-22). 
But does Professor Paton, and does Kant by his Ableitung of actions from 
laws, mean more than that human action, instead of being merely accom- 
panied, is produced by judgement ? 

"If we are to understand human action, we must avoid the common mistake 
of making too sharp a separation between cognition and volition and of 
supposing that intelligence is present only in cognition. Man is not divided 
into separate faculties, and it is one and the same man who knows and 
wills" (p. 12, cf. p. 21). That it is one and the same man who knows and wills 
we can be hardly too often reminded. But does the reminder not serve rather 
to qualify, than simply to support, the claim that intelligence is present not 
only in cognition but also in volition? With the concession that intelligence 
is present only in cognition the claim that intelligence is present also in 
volition is reconciled by the plea that cognition is present in volition. Volition 
is the causation of action by cognition. Practical by its inclusion of action, 
volition is intelligent by its inclusion of cognition. 

Take care of volition, and action will take care of itself. Now, if we are 
to understand volition, the mistake we must avoid is that of insufficiently 
distinguishing volition, whether from cognition or from action or from 
causation of action by cognition. The will is to practical law, not what nature 
is to laws of nature, but what the intellect is to theoretical law. Laws of 
nature are not practical but theoretical, and what the will is to practical 
law not nature but the natural scientist is to laws of nature. 

It is because action has been put in the place of volition that to Professor 
Paton "the idea of 'ought' in the practical sphere seems to have a place 
similar to that belonging to the idea of 'must* in the theoretical sphere 1 ' (p. 16). 
To me the place of "ought" in the practical sphere seems similar to the place 
not of "must," but of "ought," in the theoretical sphere; and the place of 
"must" in the theoretical sphere seems similar to the place not of "ought," 
but of "must," in the practical sphere. Upholding the objection that " 'must' 
properly indicates necessity, although it is sometimes used inappropriately 
in place of 'ought' " (p. 15), I would add that "ought" is sometimes used in 
place of "must." Intent on avoiding the former impropriety, those fall into 
the latter who say "If I ought to do this, it is always open to me not to do 
this; but if, for example, heated wax must melt, it is not possible for the 
wax to do anything other than melt" (p. 15). Daring to prefer "I must do 
this," how shall we meet the objection that "it is merely misleading to 
represent two utterly different things as two species of a common genus called 
'necessity* " (pp. 15-16) ? 

By insisting that they are extremely rather than altogether different. Let 
them be as different as black and white, two species of a common genus 
called "tint." Let them be as different as heaven and hell, two species of 
a common genus called "environment." What is practically necessary is not 
that I do this but my doing this. What is theoretically necessary is not the 
melting of heated wax but that fyeated wax melts. Only facts are theoretically, 
only actions are practically, necessary. But the distinction between theoreti- 
cal and practical necessity is derivable from that between theoretical and 
practical obligation. Only judgements are theoretically, only volitions are 
practically, obligatory. And, while those facts are necessary to judge which 
the case, those actions are necessary to decide to do which, is obligatory. 
If it is open to me not to decide as I ought and even to decide as I ought 
not, it is also open to me not to judge as I ought and even to judge as I 
ought not. 

263 



PHILOSOPHY 

Opening his lecture by remarking that "we live to-day in an age of un- 
reason/' by showing "how widespread is the present depreciation of reason 
among philosophers/' by deploring that "so many of the ablest among 
modern philosophers have regarded the appeal to reason as an exploded 
superstition/' Professor Paton is giving a familiar answer to a familiar 
question. Nor, though his answer is no longer fashionable, is his the voice 
of one crying in the wilderness. Among "believers in what I call intellectual 
or rational intuition in the sphere of ethics" (p. 26), among those who 
"uphold the view that reason considered as an intellectual intuition of the 
absolute and unconditioned may be practical in the sense of influencing 
or determining action" (p. 25), are Professor G. E. Moore and the Provost 
of Oriel. 

Professor Moore has a pluralistic theory of value. The Provost has a 
pluralistic theory of obligation (Broad, Five Types of Ethical Theory, 
pp. 280-1). What Professor Paton is "trying to get at, if possible, is a single 
universal principle on which the absolute and unconditioned good may be 
based, a single and universal principle which may lie behind our judgements 
about certain kinds of action and also about individual actions" (p. 29). 

With what relevance? Is he simply giving good measure? Is he, having 
answered the question whether reason can be practical, simply turning to 
the further question what practical reason tells us? Not simply. "Doubts 
of a weightier kind may be raised about the justification for attributing to 
these authors the belief that intellectual intuition is concerned with the 
absolute and unconditioned" (p. 26). But "it is neither unnatural nor incon- 
venient to use the word 'reason' for the power of intelligence so far as 
intelligence is concerned with the absolute and unconditioned" (p. 21). 
Conceding the claims of intelligence, can pluralism concede the claims of 
reason, to be practical? 

Of "two main arguments against the view that there is only one ultimate 
principle of Tightness" (p. 29), the first is not so much an argument against 
monism as the dismissal of an argument against pluralism. The Provost 
is quoted as claiming only that "in principle there is no reason to anticipate 
that every act that is our duty is so for one and the same reason" (p. 30). 
Promise-keeping, reparation, generosity may be species of a genus and may 
be duties only because this genus is a duty. The Provost thinks there is no 
such genus. But he is here denying not that there may be, but only that 
there must. Professor Paton thinks there is. But he is here affirming not that 
there must be, but only that there may. 

But there is reason to anticipate that every act that is our duty is so for 
one and the same reason. Promise-keeping might be the omission of that of 
which reparation would be the commission. To such conflict, moreover, no 
moralist is more alive than the Provost, and no pluralist has handled it so 
adroitly. Instead of duty for different reasons, prima facie duty for different 
reasons. Pluralism at its best, is this good enough? 

Not for Professor Paton. "According to the Provost what we know by 
reason is only a prima facie or conditional djity" (p. 27). But to be a prima 
facie duty is much more than to be under some though not all conditions a 
duty. So much might be said of a puuch on the nose. Instead, moreover, 
of letting deontology borrow from a seemingly solvent utilitarianism, 
Professor Paton makes utilitarianism borrow from a seemingly bankrupt 
deontology. In the teeth of the principle of organic unity, he proposes "to 
assume that there is a close parallel between goodness and lightness, and 
that the goodness or Tightness of a thing or act may vary with the context 
of the thing or act" (p. 28). Is there not a close parallel between goodness 

264 



NEW BOOKS 

and, not tightness, but prima facie rightness? Again between not goodness, 
but goodness on the whole (not barely as a whole, Principia Ethica, pp. 214-5) 
and rightness? Professor Paton himself allows that for Professor Moore "the 
'intrinsic' goodness of things ... is absolute and unconditioned in the fullest 
sense" (p. 28). For the Provost need prima facie duty be anything less? 

Instead of duty for different reasons, prima facie duty for different reasons. 
But here is a gap. Duty for only one or for no reason? Insisting that conflict 
of prima facie duties would be not the exception but the rule, Professor Paton 
powerfully argues that pluralism can stop the gap with nothing better than 
"groundless opinion" (pp. 32-3). 

, To the second of the "two main arguments" the sound reply is that 
indefin ability of rightness is incompatible, if with monism, then also with 
pluralism. But with both or with neither? Professor Paton "finds it difficult 
to understand how we can be justified in asserting a necessary synthetic 
connexion between two concepts one of which is a pure concept of which 
we can give no account whatever" (p. 32, cf. pp. 30-1). What I find difficult 
to understand is the contention that "to formulate the principle of rightness 
would be to define it" (p. 30). No doubt a definition may be mistaken for 
a principle. 

Mistaking a definition for a principle, you may mistake pluralism for 
monism. Now the monism of Professor Paton is the monism of Kant. "If 
we ask ourselves what principle could possibly be sought and obeyed by a 
reason entirely independent of desire, the answer must surely be the answer 
of Immanuel Kant that it is the principle or Idea of law as such" (p. 34). 

Do your duty is Kant's one and only moral law at its worst. At its best 
I think it is: Adopt only such maxims (hypothetical imperatives) as would, 
though universally adopted, be susceptible of fruitful execution. Professor Paton's 
"brief sketch of Kant's ultimate principles ... is intended only to suggest 
that when properly understood they have a much greater plausibility in 
theory, and a much greater value as guides to action, than is commonly 
admitted" (p. 40). When properly understood Kant's one and only moral 
law is a selective principle. That is why it tells those nothing who expect to 
be told everything. Reminding us "that for Kant, and in reality, no man 
is merely rational" (p. 39), Professor Paton luminously insists that "so far 
from attempting to deduce particular duties from our principle, we must 
begin with volitions suggested to us by desire, with arbitrarily chosen ends 
and with subjective maxims; and we must use our principle as a method of 
selection from among them" (p. 37). 

Preoccupied with my own interpretation of the question whether reason 
can be practical, I am likely, if to see a little of what others may miss, also 
to miss a lot of what others may see. Many who study Professor Paton's 
lecture will not read my review. I hope that all who read the review will 
study the lecture. REGINALD JACKSON. 



A Contribution to the Theory of the Living Organism. By W. E. AGAR, F.R.S. 

(Melbourne University Aress in association with Oxford University 

Press. 1943. P P- 207. Price I2S. 6d.) 

Biology is in the peculiar position that the scientists who pursue it are 
themselves included in its subject matter. Consequently they can not only 
study organisms in the same way that geologists study rocks, but they enjoy 
an additional source of information from the fact that they are organisms. 
But so far is this fact from being regarded as an advantage and a matter for 
congratulation that the whole trend of the development of the science has 

265 



PHILOSOPHY 

been, and still is, in the direction of ignoring it, and strenuous efforts are made 
to avoid the use of information derived from the fact that biologists are 
themselves organisms. 

The aim of Professor Agar's book is to reverse this trend. He wishes to make 
use of this additional source of information and to apply concepts derived 
from it not only to the interpretation of animal behaviour but even to such 
processes as animal development. 

The book is divided into six chapters. The first three are devoted to expound- 
ing the main thesis in detail, the thesis namely, "that all living organisms are 
subjects; that all but the simplest organisms (and possibly even these also) 
are organizations or nexus of subjects; that the characteristic activity of $, 
subject is the act of perception; and that perception is the establishment by 
the subject of its causal relation with its external world" (p. 7). In developing 
this theme the author makes use of the organic philosophy contained in 
Whitehead's three later works: Science and the Modern World, Process and 
Reality and Adventures of Ideas. No reference is made to Whitehead's three 
earlier works, devoted to the philosophy of nature, which arc perhaps more 
important for natural science and contain much that is of interest to biology. 
In Chapter II, which deals with the unity of the organism, the author seems 
to lay much stress on the synthesis of an organism out of its parts. He states 
that the source of the unity of a complex organism "lies in a property of its 
parts, which at present may merely be stated as the potentiality of entering 
into relations with other parts to form a whole" (p. 36). This seems to say 
no more than that the parts form a unity because they have a potentiality 
to do so. We should expect a student of Whitehead to seek for an explanation 
of this unity in an interdependence of the parts. The transplantation and 
other experiments quoted by the author do not show that the parts are 
independent of each other, only that they are not dependent in all cases on the 
particular parts they happen to be in physiological relation with as a conse- 
quence of normal development. 

The remaining three chapters of the book are devoted to applying the main 
thesis to animal behaviour, embryonic development and evolution. In these 
chapters (especially the first two) the author offers many new examples of the 
kind of data which seem to resist an explanation in purely physical terms and 
to invite one in the language of psychology. The author is aware that: "The 
propriety of introducing their subjective experience into the interpretation 
of the activities of all living organisms is of course denied by many biologists" 
(p. 9). In another place he says: "To ascribe perception, and therefore final 
causation and purpose, not only to all independent living organisms but also 
to embryonic and tissue cells, is to lay oneself open to the charge of confusing 
science with philosophy" (p. 21). He discusses some of the objections that 
have been raised against the kind of procedure he urges, and some are not 
difficult to dispose of. But are these the important ones? Professor Agar 
devotes little space to the critical question of how such psychological hypo- 
theses arc to be tested. In human beings, where communication by language 
is possible, the testing of such hypotheses* is difficult enough, but in the 
lower animals it seems hopeless. Moreover, there is the further question of 
whether psychological theories have, or can have, the kind of logical structure 
which renders them capable of that continuous development and detailed 
application over widening fields which is characteristic of physical theories. 
In this connexion Professor Agar certainly makes very modest claims for his 
point of view. He says: "It must be admitted at the outset that any attempt 
to interpret the process of embryonic development as a long train of instinctive 
action or rather, of many trains of instinctive actions by relatively inde- 

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NEW BOOKS 

pendent agents, the self-differentiating parts cannot be applied in detail. . . . 
Any attempt at detailed application would soon land us in unprofitable specu- 
lation" (p. 135). But according to Whitehead there are "two gauges through 
which every theory must pass." In addition to the broad gauge "which tests 
its consonance with the general character of our direct experience" there is 
the narrow gauge where only one question is asked: "Has the doctrine a 
precise application to a variety of particular circumstances so as to determine 
the exact phenomena which should then be observed?" He adds: "In the 
comparative absence of these applications, beauty, generality, or even truth, 
will not save a doctrine from neglect in scientific thought. With them, it will 
lie absorbed" (Principle of Relativity, pp. 3-4). The last chapter, dealing with 
evolution, is on orthodox selectionist lines, and contains some interesting 
comments on theories of the Larmarckian type. 

Whether this attempt to widen the base of biological theory is destined to 
share the fate of previous ones of a similar kind or not, one cannot but admire 
the author's courage in taking an unorthodox line, the evident sincerity of his 
approach to his task and the clarity with which he treats these very obscure 
topics. It is always important to remind biologists of the limitations of their 
"current modes of abstraction" and to confront them with the data which do 
not fit comfortably into the prevailing theories. The philosophical reader 
who is interested in biology will find much of value in this book, both in the 
new experimental results described and in the methodological problems it 
raises. 

J. H. WOODGER. 



The Destiny of Western Man. By W. T. STAGE. (New York: Reynal & 
Hitchcock. 1942, Pp. xi -f- 3 2 2. Price $3.00.) 

Professor Stace, having wrestled during the past few years with the problem 
of knowledge, with the nature of the world, and with the principles of morality 
here turns his attention to the conflict between totalitarian and democratic 
social orders. His aim is to show on grounds which must be admitted by both 
sides that the democrat is not merely advocating his own preferences. Simi- 
larly, he seeks to show that the totalitarian, if he could for a moment be clear- 
headed and honest, would have to admit that his whole position is rationally 
indefensible and, in the long run, one which would fail to satisfy even himself. 
These aims are not very clearly expressed by the rather pretentious and mis- 
leading title under which the work is published. Nevertheless, they are im- 
portant, and Professor Stace always writes well enough to make his pursuit 
of them interesting. 

Since politics is rooted in ethics, Professor Stace begins his argument with 
an examination of the notion of goodness itself. "We have to dig," he observes, 
"down to the roots of the tree of good and evil" (page ix). These roots he 
finds in human nature. "There are," he argues, "two theories of the origin 
and nature of morals. . . . The first is the theory of morality as imposed. 
The second is the theory of ftiorality as immanent" (page 19). Piofcssor 
Stace 's task, a difficult one on any cojmt, is rendered doubly ambitious by his 
derivation of ethics from empirical psychology only in other words by his 
determination to reach an unequivocal judgment about what ought to be from 
a bare description of what is. 

The good life, on Professor Stace's analysis, is the happy and satisfactory 
life. To be satisfactory, a life must satisfy human nature as a whole and not 
merely in part. Human nature for Professor Stace is constituted by the 
psychological primacy of reason (as distinguished from the epistemic primacy 

267 



PHILOSOPHY 

of reason which he rejects) over will and desire, and by sympathy. From 
this he concludes that a life or a society which violates man's integral human 
nature as at once rational and sympathetic, cannot in the long run be satis- 
factory. 

Sympathy is essential to human nature since without it society would fall 
asunder into so many mere individuals, and we should thereby be deprived 
of the happiness which comes from service of and community with others. 
Reason, therefore, is not hostile to sympathy or even indifferent to it. Reason 
requires sympathy as its ally in securing the happy and satisfactory life. 

In an interesting chapter, Professor Stace gives an account, on humanistic 
principles, of the infinite value of the individual. This may be derived, he 
claims, "both from the Christian principle of the primacy of sympathy and 
the Greek principle of the primacy of reason" (page 141). Man's value to 
himself is infinite because "this end, the satisfaction of himself, exceeds beyond 
measure all finite values" (page 133), or, "by infinite value is meant the value 
which every man, even the purely selfish natural man attributes to himself" 
(ibid.). The extension of this infinite valuation from oneself to others is 
achieved by the means of sympathy. 

This, in bald outline, is Professor Stace's ethics. It seems to me to evade 
all the really difficult problems and to appear plausible for the most part 
by over simplification. The argument appears to turn on what is meant by 
satisfactory in this context. He writes: "I mean by a satisfactory life, one 
which the liver himself intuitively feels to be satisfactory. Whatever may 
be the proper philosophical analysis of the notion of goodness or satisfactori- 
iiess, men do, in actual fact, know whether their lives are satisfactory or 
not" (page 65). 

But what, it may be objected, could we say to a man who does not agree 
with us as to what sort of life is satisfactory ? If his intuitive feeling is unlike 
my own intuitive feeling, how can we arrive at any rational judgment or 
impersonal valuation concerning our two sorts of lives? If a man likes to 
torture other people, on what ground, except our own dislike of torture, can 
we challenge him ? Professor Stace might reply that even the torturer at some 
time or other would require the sympathy of someone, and were he to do so, 
his attitude then would morally refute his attitude to his present victim. 
Does this reply give Professor Stace that rational justification of the humane 
way of life which he requires ? Furthermore, one is entitled to wonder whether 
Professor Stace wishes "intuition" as to the satisfactory life to be taken 
seriously, and if so, how he hopes to escape from ethical intuitionism a form 
of moral philosophy to which he otherwise appears hostile. 

It might also be objected that Professor Stace nowhere establishes any 
essential link between reason and sympathy. He merely shows that they are 
compatible. A Nazi might admit that he sympathizes selectively but might 
frankly reject (as indeed he does) a quite general human sympathy. And how 
could Mr. Stace convince him that he ought to do otherwise ? 

The concluding half of his book Professor Stace devotes to what he calls 
ultimate questions. He considers the relation 'between the state and the indi- 
vidual, analyses the concept of organism applied to society or to social 
relations, and concludes that the state cannot be anything except a means to 
the ends of individuals. In a chapter "Plato or Schopenhauer" Professor Stace 
refutes the view that reason is nothing but an instrument of the will. He rightly 
shows how greatly reason determines and modifies our ends. Finally, in the 
chapter "Nietzsche or Christ" he shows how defective, whether as psychology 
or as ethics, is Nietzsche's account of human nature. 

The political conclusions and social aims of this book which was de- 

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NEW BOOKS 

servedly awarded a $2,500 prize appear to me more likely to gain the sym- 
pathetic agreement of good democrats than either the moral theory as such 
or the arguments by which the conclusions are attained. A confirmed Nazi, 
however, would probably remain unembarrassed by either. 

R. E. STEDMAN. 



Process and Polarity. Woodbridge Lectures delivered at Columbia University,, 
by WILMON HENRY SHELDON. (New York: Columbia University 
Press. London: Humphrey Milford. 1944. Pp. xvi +153. Price, 
133. 6d.) 

These lectures, the first of a series in memory of Dean Frederick Wood- 
bridge, make stimulating reading. Professor Sheldon protests against what 
he holds to be the sterility of contemporary philosophy. At a time of crisis 
in human affairs it has little to offer. Instead of providing a metaphysic, "a 
plan of action with respect to the universe at large" (p. 116), so that men 
might have guidance in choosing their path, those who practise philosophy 
spend all their time reflecting upon remote epistemological problems and 
attempting highly technical analyses of the meaning of words. "They are 
content to treat philosophy as more-or-less of a pleasant game" (p. xi). Mr. 
Sheldon takes his own philosophy very seriously indeed. He does not say that 
it is a panacea for our present ills, but he does go so far as to hold that it is 
the "necessary condition of any panacea that may be forthcoming" (p. xii). 

Professor Sheldon protests also against the attitude of the philosophical 
giants of the past. They cannot be accused of a lack of seriousness, but they 
did fail to perceive the truth in systems other than their own. In their anxiety 
to press forward the claims of their own meta physic they rejected all other 
metaphysics, and so missed much of the truth. For we shall find the truth, 
in Professor Sheldon's opinion, if we understand how the various metaphysical 
systems which have had sufficient vitality to survive to our own day together 
express it. Their opposition is really a polarity within one system. The neces- 
sary condition of any panacea of human ills consists in understanding "the 
polarity of the perennial types of metaphysical system" (p. xii). Polarity is 
regarded by the author as the most significant characteristic not merely of 
human thinking, but of nature and of the universe. He sets it down as the 
fundamental metaphysical notion in place of such other notions as the 
composite or the organic. He defines it as "a relation between two opposites, 
each of partly independent status, asymmetrical and productive because 
of their co-operation, and also just because each has already a being, power 
and efficiency of its own which enables it to contribute something in the 
co-operation" (p. 108). 

We may consider the polarity of the surviving types of metaphysics. The 
oldest type of metaphysic, according to Professor Sheldon, is the idealist, 
the fruit of man's aspiration and of his refusal to be bound by the material 
and by the body. Professor Sheldon uses the term idealism in a wide sense 
and has in mind apparently spiritual realism rather than epistemological 
idealism. Within it he includes some of the metaphysical systems of the East 
as well as idealisms of the West from Plato onwards. It has two forms, the 
monistic and the pluralist. Its opposite is materialism, which affirms the 
ultimate reality of matter and protests against the identification of being 
with thought. Materialism has its feet upon the earth; it views the real as a 
fixed, mechanistic structure amenable to law. The third type, scholasticism, 
is a synthesis of idealism and materialism. Its theism implies the supremacy 
of spirit and yet its stress on law, order and causality keeps it as firmly 

269 



PHILOSOPHY 

grounded as any materialism, and at the same time provides it at least with 
a show of speculative certainty. It stands above the mind-body dispute around 
which idealism and materialism turn, and in this respect is similar to the 
fourth metaphysical type which Sheldon mentions, namely, the process- 
philosophy. The latter is the name given to the relativist evolutionary meta- 
physic which rests on modern science, and which is the opposite of 
scholasticism, having none of its absolutism and finality, but permitting 
change and the emergence of the genuinely novel. These four Professor Sheldon 
takes to be the main surviving types of metaphysic. There are also "dwarf" 
types, such as empiricism and pragmatism, which can be fitted into the main 
scheme. Cutting completely across it are the "irrational" philosophies, mysti- 
cism and scepticism, but ex hypothesi such philosophies cannot provide us 
with the rational plan of the universe for which we seek. 

A critic might object to the sketchiness and superficiality of the author's 
exposition of these systems (and indeed the whole book suffers in this way), 
but the author disarms such criticism at the beginning by affirming that, 
close, detailed, precise thinking is not his aim. He had taken a broad canvas, 
and is dealing in broad outlines. It is in respect to the general outline, therefore, 
rather than the detail, that he is to be criticized. Before attempting such a 
criticism we must see how he develops his main theme. 

Behind these four main types of metaphysic lie the perennial philosophical 
disputes, (a) mind-body, (b) one-many, (c) order-process. Professor Sheldon 
thinks we can solve all three disputes if we regard them as involving not 
sheer but polar opposition. Mind and body arc opposites which are also 
complementary. "Mind . . . in its contemplative phase, entertains wholes 
which determine their parts or elements; body is a whole whose traits are 
determined by their parts" (p. in). They are independents which yet co- 
operate. The One and the Many he considers in terms of individual self 
and society, and finds in it the same need for a recognition of independence 
in co-operation. Lastly, he considers the world of nature, first the inorganic 
and then the organic, and shows how the old mechanistic theories of a stable, 
fixed world have failed, how probability has ousted certainty in science, and 
relativism has ousted absolutism, and how if we take this view we can see 
that order and process are relative to each other. The order is not that per- 
taining to fixed structure, for irreversible changes occur and the truly novel 
emerges. Reality is not a closed circle, but a growing curve or a spiral. This 
is true also of that part of reality which is man. He also is in process; and the 
principle of the process is the polarity of the different parts of his nature. 
In man, as in his world, there is both balance and aspiration, and what happens 
to him and to his world is understood in terms of the polar opposition between 
them. 

From all this Professor Sheldon draws the following conclusion. "The main 
attested values for man, so far as at present known, seem to be: a fairly 
stable order or state (monistic idealism and scholasticism here), individual 
personality with its private phases, person, family and property (pluralist 
idealism and scholasticism here), physical health and strength (materialism 
and scholasticism here), and, finally, levels of being (scholasticism here). 
These so far as we can see ought to be conserved. . . . Any plan that sub- 
merges one of them is wrong. This at once condemns extreme socialism, 
communism, anarchy, asceticism . . . class rule" (p. 146). 

Thus the panacea of which we are in search turns out at the end (a little 
surprisingly) to be simply American democracy. If we wish to save ourselves 
from our present unhappiness we must all adopt the liberal, humane, moderate 
standards of the good democrat. And no doubt there is much that can be 

270 



NEW BOOKS 

said in favour of this view. At the same time one notices with a little uneasiness 
that whilst the door has, as it were, been firmly bolted against all subversive 
and extreme tendencies, the window has been left open. The author has used 
the magic phrases "irreversible change" and "process". How would he meet 
the communist who holds that communism is the next step forward, the 
next inevitable emergence as the consequence of the strife between con- 
temporary polar opposites? And how would he answer him when he argues 
further that the new communist emergence will involve not the destruction 
of order but rather the creation of a better, an improved order, in which, for 
instance, greater justice will be done to individual personality than is done 
at present? I feel he would find it difficult to answer on his present position. 

Professor Sheldon's sympathies are with what he calls the process philosophy 
and he accepts its denial of absolute standards. By what standards docs he 
himself then make his final judgments ? The mush of contemporary relativism 
does not permit its adherents to speak either of what is true or of what is 
good significantly. We have been warned not to ask epistemological questions. 
Yet one is sorely tempted to ask Professor Sheldon what he means by truth ? 
Is a system truer because it is a later emergence of human thought ? This is 
the suggestion of much of this work. But this is not the only view of truth 
which it contains. On p. 59 a true map is a useful one, enabling us to adjust 
ourselves to our environment. On p. 62 the true is that which involves no 
inner contradiction. On p. 74 to ask whether a thing is true is to ask whether 
it corresponds to the facts. Obviously, it is no good asking which of the types 
of metaphysics is the most true, for the term true has become so vague that 
it really has very little significance. It is so also with the term good. And since 
it is so how can we judge between democratic and communist values? Or 
how can we assume that "process" is "progress", that the new emergent is an 
improvement on the old? One is reminded of the epigram: "We are making 
progress, said the Gadarene swine." 

1 might mention a further point of interest. Professor Sheldon, in an illumin- 
ating passage, holds that the substance philosophy is not so much a meta- 
physic as a description, and he "thinks that the natural scientist no more 
explains nature's ways than does the substantial t" (p. 121). I wonder 
whether the same thing might not also be said of the process philosophy. 
Does it at all explain? Does it not describe merely? In other words, is it a 
metaphysic? At one point in his study Professor Sheldon himself seems to 
suggest a negative answer to this latter question. Final explanations are still 
to come in some later work. "The present work is concerned only with the 
world of creatures. Evidence showing that there is no conflict between the 
notion of an ... eternal Creator and the notion of an imperfect growing 
world of creatures, we hope to give elsewhere. And be it remarked in passing, 
that the relation between God and the world is not here conceived as one of 
polarity" (p. 135). The present work, then, docs not explain. (Is that why 
it does not give the standards we need?) It is not a metaphysic but a very 
general scientific description. Until we see Professor Sheldon's metaphysic we 
cannot rightly judge as to whettier 'Process and Polarity provides "the neces- 
sary condition of a panacea" which it claims to do. 

R. I. AARON. 



Robin George Collingwood, 1889-1943. Proceedings of the British Academy, 

Vol. XXIX. 1944. Pp- 2 4- Pr ice 35. 6d. net. 

It is significant of the brilliance and range of Professor Collingwood's 
intellectual gifts that it should have been found appropriate for three of his 

271 



PHILOSOPHY 

friends to contribute to this memoir. Mr. R. B. McCallum has given the 
admirable narrative of his life; Professor T. M. Knox has commented on his 
philosophical -writings; and Mr. I. A. Richmond has written on his work as 
an archaeologist. In addition there are bibliographies of Professor Colling- 
wood's writings. The impression the accounts leave with us cannot perhaps be 
better expressed than in words of Mr. McCallum: "To men of learning in 
general he remains as an example of nearly all the virtues and qualities of a 
great scholar, of intellectual courage, lucidity of thought, clarity and grace 
of exposition, thorough mastery of all the relevant data in his particular 
field, enlightened and liberalized by a wide general knowledge in art, letters, 
history and science, which few in his age can hope to equal/' As Mr. Richmond 
reminds us, overstrain and ill health told on Collingwood markedly after 1932, 
and for many it must be a matter for very real regret that he died leaving im- 
portant tasks unfinished. The speculative thought of our age would have been 
enriched had he been able to complete the work on The Principles of History 
which he began, and Archaeology by the completion of his Corpus of Latin 
Inscriptions in Britain, each inscription of which was to be illustrated by his 
own "sensitive and meticulous pen." Mr. Richmond writes that none but 
Collingwood possessed the genius for this task, and adds that the work will 
be completed and published under the editorship of Mr. R. P. Wright. 

Archaeology and Philosophy are divergent studies for most of us, but it 
appears that they came together in the mind of Collingwood. Mr. Richmond 
remarks on Collingwood's exceptional power of analysis, a power we again 
find most fruitfully employed in his speculative inquiries. He complains of 
Collingwood's tendency to "drive the evidence hard/' and to build conclusions 
that go beyond the evidence; and he traces this dangerous tendency to 
Collingwood's belief that to "pose a problem permitted its answer to be pre- 
dicted." But may this alleged failing not illustrate how the experience 
acquired by Collingwood in his archaeological studies contributed in his mind 
to the development of speculative conceptions, to that, for example, of imagi- 
nation and its relation to impressions and ideas explained in the Principles of 
Art, and to the "Logic of question and answer" which is so fundamental to 
his metaphysics ? Truth or falsity for Collingwood is always truth or falsity 
of statement, and a statement is intelligent and intelligible only as an answer 
to a question. 

Collingwood described his life work as an attempt to bring about a rapproche- 
ment between philosophy and history, and it is the changing view of this rela- 
tionship that governs the development of his philosophic thoiight. Mr. 
McCullum points out how this insistence on the importance of historical 
ideas in philosophy placed a gulf between Collingwood and many of his 
philosophical colleagues at Oxford who regarded philosophy as a more self- 
contained activity. His interest in the philosophy of religion and in the funda- 
mental problems of the Christian faith, would tend to widen this gulf. Pro- 
fessor Knox has shown clearly the development of Collingwood's thought on 
the relation between History and Philosophy, and has pointed out how 
Collingwood intended to expound in detail his theory of History, as well as 
to clear up problems of method, and to show how what has hitherto been 
regarded as philosophy and history might be synthesized in a new study 
transcending and incorporating both. He considers it a pity that Collingwood 
was diverted from completing his work on History into writing The New 
Leviathan, which he regards as less original than its predecessors. This may 
be the case, but many will feel with Mr. McCallum that "the final judgment 
on this book has not been passed, and that when young men return from the 
war to think deeply of the perplexities of political problems they . . . will 

272 



NEW BOOKS 

have to admit that at least one of their elders has done his best to lead them 
to the inmost penetralia of political obligation.*' 

A comparison between Collingwood and de Burgh may be of interest. In 
personality they differed strikingly from each other, but for both philosophy 
included inquiry into the meaning of art, religion, science, and history as 
forms of mental experience, and the relation between these was defined by 
endeavouring to determine the place of each in a 'scale* or 'hierarchy* of 
philosophical forms. But whereas for de Burgh the consummation of the 
hierarchy is religion, for Collingwood it is philosophy, and consequently there 
are important differences in the interpretations of these related forms of 
experience. 

G. H. LANGLEY. 



William George de Burgh, 1866-1943. By A. E. TAYLOR. Proceedings of the 
British Academy, Vol. XXIX. (London: Humphrey Milford. Pp. 24. 
Price 33. 6d. net.) 

In his opening paragraph Professor Taylor pleads his unfitness for his task, 
but friends of Professor de Burgh will agree that he has conveyed a very true 
impression of his personality, and of the relation between his life arid work. 
He shows that it was by no accident that de Burgh eventually found his life 
work at Reading, where his entire energy was devoted to the "making of a 
University College into a University an independent centre of an education 
in living well." This recognition of his vocation meant that he was committed 
to throwing all his energies into two tasks : that of planning and building for 
the future University of Reading, and that of making the teaching of philo- 
sophy there as rich and vital an inspiration in the lives of successive genera- 
tions of students as a man may. Professor Taylor adds: "It is a striking testi- 
mony to de Burgh's 'dynamic' quality that, by the general admission of 
colleagues and pupils, he made a very real success of both." 

Passing to dc Burgh's contribution to the thought of his age, Professor 
Taylor rightly draws attention to his early work, The Legacy of the A ncient 
World, in which de Burgh endeavoured to show how Hebrew religion, Greek 
philosophy and science, and Roman law and genius for administration, came 
together in the course of European history, how they have by repercussion 
modified one another, and just what each of them has contributed to the 
general outlook of the Christianized European on the life of the world . Of this 
work the late Professor Burnet remarked when it was published in 1924: "It 
is exactly the book I have wanted to see written for many years." Before his 
death de Burgh revised the text of the Legacy, and added several most valuable 
appendices giving his views on certain important speculative problems that 
arose for him out of the historical survey, and we look forward to the publica- 
tion of the new edition. In the opinion of Professor Taylor, de Burgh's second 
book, Towards a Religious Philosophy (1937) makes his philosophical position 
most clear. After indicating the central character of this, Professor Taylor 
writes: "I do not suppose that ail his readers will share what I confess is my 
own conviction, that his beliefs are essentially sound, but I am at least sure 
that even the least satisfied of them will have gained from his pages an in- 
valuable intellectual and moral discipline." For de Burgh a religious philosophy 
recognizes the specific experience of the religious life, and the theologies which 
arise from self-conscious reflection on these experiences, as an integral part of 
the empirical data for its metaphysical construction. He points out that it is 
characteristic of religion that it recognizes revelation as an independent source 
of knowledge, side by side with the experimental exploration of the manifold 

s 273 



PHILOSOPHY 

of sense, the demands of the moral conscience, and the intuitions of the 
creative artist. Revealed religion is an independent source of momentous 
knowledge, which cannot come to us in any other way. But while making this 
claim de Burgh repeatedly insists that the contents of spiritual revelation 
must be capable of being harmonized, first, among themselves, and secondly, 
with the rest of our knowledge. "In all genuine religion there is faith in the 
sense that the believer begins by accepting as true something which he could 
not have arrived at for himself from premises derived from pre-existing secular 
knowledge. But if faith is belief in what is true, it must in the end be possible 
to see that religious truth is in harmony, not in conflict, with what we can 
find out for ourselves/' The point which de Burgh makes with special clarity 
is that the whole position is bound up with the admission that truth in the 
widest sense of the word is not confined to logical prepositional form; there 
is a wider sense of the word in which we can speak of truth, not only of 
religious insight, but of sense perception, or of moral divination, or of aesthetic 
intuition. This theme is developed much more fully in the uncompleted manu- 
script (The Life of Reason) to which Professor Taylor refers, and in which 
de Burgh put down what he had learned from his long experience as a teacher 
and as a thinker. With Professor Taylor I hope it will soon be possible to 
publish this work. Of de Burgh's Gififord Lectures (From Morality to Religion, 
1938), Professor Taylor writes: "The fundamental thought is that while 
morality and religion are concerned with the regulation of human practice, 
in morality practice is regulated simply with a view to better practice, in 
religion it is regulated with a further view to an end which lies beyond prac- 
tice, in theoria." "In mere morality the end to be attained by doing right or 
doing good is simply the fuller doing of it ; in religion the end is the knowledge 
of God, and religion is ultimately so intimately connected with the regulation 
of action because the right doing is in itself an indispensable means to the 
vision." This duality of aspects, according as practice is considered for its 
own sake or for the sake of theoria, according to de Burgh gives rise within 
morality itself to the contrast between two divergent types of conduct and 
of ethical theory, neither of which can be reduced to the other. There is the 
type in which the central thought is the imperative obligatoriness of duty; 
and that according to which all responsible action is action sub ratione boni; 
and in much of the work de Burgh is concerned with defending the exclusive- 
ness of these types. Although unable to satisfy himself that they are as diver- 
gent as de Burgh maintains (and in this I agree with Professor Taylor), he 
points out that any defender of the Greek and Scholastic tradition from which 
de Burgh has departed, must be prepared to weigh de Burgh's objections very 
seriously, and to find an answer to them. 

All who knew Professor de Burgh will be grateful to Professor Taylor for 
this appreciation of a teacher and thinker, "The motive spring of whose whole 
character was an ardent reaching forth by desire for 'the things above,' and 
for that very reason was a man greatly beloved." 

G. H. "L ANGLE Y. 



One Kind of Religion. By HELEN W6DEHOUSE, M.A., D.Phil. (Cambridge 
University Press. 1944. Pp. 208, Price, 8s. 6d. net.) 

In this book, whose value is out of all proportion to its small size, Dr. 
Wodehouse has restated an interpretation of religion in terms of the great 
school of British Idealism, of which the most distinguished expression in the 
last generation was Bosanquet's Gifford Lectures on "The Principle of Indi- 
viduality and Value," and its sequel (1911-12). It is indeed much more a 

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NEW BOOKS 

revival than a restatement, for Dr. Wodehouse has put much fine thinking 
of her own into this very living book : but I think she would rather be regarded 
as offering a contemporary re-presentation of old and well accredited ways of 
thought than as developing an original approach of her own, for she empha- 
sizes throughout that a long and august tradition both of speculation and 
religious experience supports, or at least tallies with, her findings. 

The book is directed in the main to correct "a contemporary emphasis in 
theological thinking" which lays (in the author's opinion) undue stress upon 
the historical character of Christianity and presents Theism in too narrowly 
"personal" terms. She is, however, not so much arguing against such an 
interpretation as pleading that even those who cannot accept it may claim 
to know a religion which inspires and sustains, and which finds no unnatural 
expression in Christian language. She has much more sympathy for the 
Christian theist than for the materialist or naturalist for whom religion is to 
be explained away in anthropological or psychological terms as fundamentally 
an illusory experience. It is not within the scope of her purpose to contravert 
such a position explicitly (it has perhaps been done often enough) but 
within the limits of its argument this short book is concerned with most of 
the central problems of religious philosophy, the objectivity of religious 
experience, the category of Personality as applied to God, Divine Omni- 
presence, Grace and Redemption, the nature of Prayer, and the significance 
of Incarnation. On every one of them Dr. Wodehouse has much that is wise 
to say, and says it with a freshness and sensitivity of expression that make 
her pages quite exceptionally stimulating. 

I do not think, for instance, that there can be anywhere an exposition, so 
persuasive in so short a compass, of the meaning of the "concrete universal," 
which logicians of a very different school profess to find so unintelligible. It 
is, of course, a vital contention for this type of objective Idealism that Good- 
ness must be just such a concrete reality, indeed the supreme example, a 
"universal" embodying itself integratingly in all that has value. "God" is 
indeed described by Dr. Wodehouse as "the concrete universal of all that is 
good," and because goodness is to be found, in all its innumerable forms and 
manifestations, pervading and penetrating all the reaches of experience, 
"God" thus conceived cannot but be acknowledged as a Power by which 
man's fragmentary glimpses of and efforts towards goodness are sustained, 
upheld and reinforced. The experiences of worship and personal redemption 
are real in essence on this interpretation, and there is 110 need for "God" as 
a distinct unitary Being standing in a "personal" or quasi-personal relation 
to the human individual, though Dr. Wodehouse does not deny that for those 
who find themselves unable to reject such a theism the symphony of religion 
may be or should be even richer in meaning. 

I do not think that any fair-minded Theist would question in the main the 
legitimacy of this argument, nor the aptness of the evidence that supports it. 
He would, however, probably be unwilling to accept Dr. Wodehouse 's appraise- 
ment of the category of Personality, the central issue upon which everything 
else depends. Admittedly Personality is not an adequate category in terms of 
which to interpret deity; it is not a terminal but a directional concept. Still, 
it is to the theist, an issue of primary importance whether the category is 
transcended or superseded in the sense in which, for instance, Life in an 
animal is transcended and superseded by Mind in man, or in the sense in 
which the individual man is transcended and superseded (only perhaps he 
is not truly) by the corporate integration of the community. To the Theist 
it does make an immense difference that the cosmic orchestra is thought of 
as having not only a "Leader," in the sense of one of the chief players within 

275 



PHILOSOPHY 

it, but also a Conductor who is also the composer of the music. It is really a 
related criticism that suggests that perhaps a little less than justice is here 
done to that obstinate quality of reciprocity and mutual confrontation that 
characterizes both the experience of ethical transaction and that of religious 
communion, especially of the less mystical types. 

An Anglican reviewer of this book dismissed it rather cavalierly on the 
ground that this kind of religion will not help souls in tribulation. A foolish 
attitude, as though the author's purpose was not exposition and interpretation, 
not homily and edification. You might as well complain that a work on railway 
economics does not enlighten the stranded traveller as to how to get from 
Hastings to Heckmondwike. But in point of fact few books on religion ar6 
written with more warmth of feeling and delicacy of sympathy, and I only 
omit quotation because the choice between so many marked passages and 
lines is too invidious. And for some of the less familiar of Dr. Wodehouse's 
own quotations from other writers, those readers will be especially grateful 
who refuse to admit any ground for the ancient quarrel between poetry and 
philosophy. 

J. W HARVEY. 

Philosophical Commentaries; generally called the Commonplace Book: George 
Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne. An editio diplomatica transcribed and edited 
with introduction and notes. By A. A. LUCE, M.C., D.D., Litt.D. 
(London: T. Nelson & Sons. 1944. Pp. xlii + 485. Price 3^ guineas.) 

Dr. Luce is our foremost Berkeleian, one of the few who is convinced of 
the truth of Berkeley's philosophy without any major reservations, the best 
of the many who have so appreciably raised the standard of Berkeley 
scholarship, and even of Berkeley philology in the present century. 

In this second respect the present book vastly increases the great debt 
we already owe him. The two notebooks bound in one (in the British 
Museum) which Fraser called Berkeley's Commonplace Book are indispensable 
for all who are minded to make a really sedulous study of Berkeley, but 
are accessible, in print, only in forms too imprecise for this purpose. Eraser's 
transcription was pioneer work, and the later edition published separately 
by G. A. Johnston contains far too many mistakes as Aaron and Luce 
himself proved when Johnston's book came out, Aaron in Mind t October 
1931 and April 1932, Luce in Hermathena, 1932. (The translations of Hecht 
and others are obviously not a substitute.) It was best to attempt to produce 
a perfect editio diplomatica with each page correctly transcribed, verso as 
well as recto, complete with erasures, marginal signs and all else. And prompt- 
ness was desirable since the manuscript shows signs of deterioration. 

A glance at the page of Berkeley's manuscript whose replica is the frontis- 
piece to the present book shows sufficiently that it wasn't easy to make a 
flawless transcription; and no reviewer can pronounce the transcription 
flawless without himself comparing it with the original, item by item. I 
have not myself seen the original, but am confident that Dr. Luce's work 
has been done once and for all. Since the rAethod involves the transcription 
of Berkeley's slips of the pen, irregular spellings, etc., and since Dr. Luce, 
very properly, does not profess to call attention to all of these in his notes, 
it is impossible in all instances to say whether what looks like a misprint 
really is one. It looks to me as if "sould" for "should" in item 206 was a 
misprint, and, more importantly, "they" for "the" in item 616. But it 
needn't be so. 

So we have the textus receptus at last, and the importance of the contents 
is allowed everywhere. The edition is limited to four hundred numbered copies 

276 



NEW BOOKS 

and is expensive, but no good academic philosophical library can afford to be 
without it. Hence four hundred copies is rather a small edition, and, if there 
is no further printing, private owners have the duty of either presenting or 
bequeathing their copies for the more general good. 

Dr. Luce provides about 150 pages of notes on the entries. These of 
necessity cover a wide range, including, e.g. the physics, optics, and mathe- 
matics of Berkeley's time. Here Dr. Luce, remarkable as the range and 
accuracy of his own knowledge of such matters is, had the good sense, ex 
abundantia cautelae, to consult various of his colleagues in Trinity College, 
Dublin (as well as some others) on special points. The notes therefore are 
a triumph for Trinity College, Dublin, as well as for Dr. Luce personally. 
In range, precision and economy of expression and of convenience in cross- 
reference it would be very difficult indeed to better them. The matter-of-fact 
in them is quite fascinating, though, of course, not very well adapted to 
general reading. Some of them may be a little too kind to Berkeley, but that 
is scarcely a defect when the purpose is expository. 

The chief points in Dr. Luce's introduction may be set forth briefly as 
follows. Dr. Luce proves (what Lorenz was the first to suggest) that the two 
notebooks in the British Museum have been bound in the wrong order. After 
careful argument, much of it strong, he assigns June or July 1707 to August 
or September 1708 as the date of composition. He further argues that "our 
document" was not the preliminary to composition but intermediate, dealing 
with what had already been largely committed to paper. It was, he thinks 
'a critical commentary upon his own early work on immaterialism now 
lost a work which began with a study of time, included a study of vision 
and rested the case against matter in the main upon the argument that the 
sensible as secondary qualities were "in the mind"/ This he holds to be very 
probable conjecture, though not a proven certainty. So far as I can see, the 
most that could be proved in this way would be that Berkeley in 1707-1708 
had planned the main divisions and subdivisions of a book-or-books-to-be 
and had written or drafted some of these, i.e. had done more than merely 
sketch them. It is clear, of course, that some of the entries, e.g. 491, 513 and 
543, were admonitions for future insertion; but that is quite consistent with 
Dr. Luce's hypothesis. 

The hypothesis itself is part of a general view not seriously disputable 
after Dr. Luce's labours, that Berkeley so far from having been a rather 
callow youngster in a hurry when he published the Principles was in fact 
a scholar of very high attainments who had put his philosophy to very 
severe and very painstaking tests, and, young as he was, had subjected 
himself in a wholly unusual degree to the very exacting discipline which his 
project demanded. His was ripe work though he produced the most famous 
part of it early. 

Hence also the new title Philosophical Commentaries. Eraser's name for 
the notebooks, viz. Berkeley's Commonplace Book is misleading either in the 
modern sense of scrapbook or in the traditional sense of rhetorical common- 
places, i.e. general headings foi* the- orderly treatment of any subject On the 
other hand Luce's title of "commentaries" suggesting as it does explanations 
and afterthoughts upon a finished composition seems itself to be dubiously 
accurate, even if Luce's hypothesis be granted him without reservation. Many 
of the entries are only jottings, and some of them, as Luce vigorously affirms, 
express views, e.g. about selfhood and about knowledge being confined to 
ideas which Berkeley argued himself out of. The neutral word "Notebooks," 
tame as it is, might be more accurate than "Commentaries." 

JOHN LAIRD. 

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PHILOSOPHY 

Introduction of Aristotelian Learning to Oxford. By DR. D. A. CALLUS, O.P. 
From the Proceedings of the British Academy, (London: Humphrey 
Milford. Pp. 55. Price 75. net.) 

It has often been said that Oxford, which was so prominent in Aristotelian 
studies in the fourteenth century, played an unimportant part in thirteenth- 
century Aristotelian learning. Dr. Callus's prolonged and careful study of 
numerous manuscripts at Oxford and elsewhere has led him to a different 
opinion ; and in this paper he brings together far more information about the 
early study of Aristotle in England, and particularly at Oxford, than any 
earlier writer has done. His main conclusions are that Aristotelianism was 
introduced to Oxford between 1206 and 1209, i.e. almost at the same time 
that it reached Paris, that by the middle of the thirteenth century the study 
of Aristotle at Oxford had covered in range the whole corpus Anstotelicum 
vetustius, and its technique had reached a high degree of perfection, and that 
while the influence of Aristotle was widest and deepest in the Faculty of Arts, 
it also (in spite of strong opposition) made itself felt in the Faculty of 
Theology, among the secular as well as among the Dominican and Franciscan 
masters. 

Dr. Callus distinguishes clearly three stages in the history of Aristotelian 
studies in the thirteenth century. Tn the first, which lasted till about 1240, 
the method followed was that of writing treatises after the manner of 
Avicenna, in which paraphrase of Aristotle's works was blended with the 
writer's own reflections. Typical examples of this method are the treatises 
of Dominic Gundissalinus and of John Blund on the Soul. In the second 
period, which lasted till about 1275, the treatise was gradually succeeded 
by the gloss or commentary, expositio per modum commenti, with its new 
technique, borrowed mainly from Averroes, and with an elaborate system of 
division and analysis of the text commented upon. In the third period, the 
divisions and analysis of the text were gradually reduced to a bare minimum, 
until they gave way almost entirely to the Quaestiones on the liter a (expositio 
per modum quaestionis], discussions on problems arising out of the text, 
or connected in any way with it. Furthermore, in the second half of the 
century a fourth type of work began to appear, the A bbreviationes, Extracta, 
or Summae which were intended as elementary introductions to Aristotelian 
doctrine. 

Dr. Callus's paper gives us interesting characterizations of the works of 
a number of comparatively little-known writers, such as John Blund, Adam 
of Buckfield, and Simon of Faversham; it contains many useful discussions 
of the authorship or date of anonymous works; and in general it adds very 
greatly to our knowledge of this period in the transmission of Aristotle's 
thought to the west and of its modification in the process. 

W. D. Ross. 



Greek Foundations of Traditional Logic. By ERNST KAPP. (Columbia Uni- 
versity Press. 1942. Pp. vii -f- 95.Prid3 $1.50.) 

The five chapters of this book are the,, published form of five lectures given 
by Professor Kapp to the Departments of Philosophy and of Greek and Latin 
of Columbia University. In the first the author describes the social context in 
which logic originated and the function it was invented to fulfil by Aristotle. 
But ''traditional logic" is, in certain respects, very different from the subject 
conceived by the founders of logic. In the four remaining lectures, therefore. 
Professor Kapp compares the chief doctrines of traditional logic with their 
Greek originals. He shows that the differences are mainly due to a different 

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NEW BOOKS 

conception of the nature and function of logic. The clarification of these dis- 
tinctions is important. For, because of their different attitude to the subject, 
many of the puzzles that worried later logicians did not even occur to the 
Greeks. Later writers have sometimes found it almost miraculous that Aris- 
totle never confused logic with grammar and psychology as have many of his 
successors. But, grammar had long been part of the Greek school curriculum, 
while, as Aristotle so often proudly asserts, Logic was an entirely new subject. 
Nor was it invented to describe the introspections of an individual thinker. 
So its founder was never tempted to treat the principles of logic as psycho- 
logical laws. Nor were they merely abstract formulae or symbolic conven- 
tions. They were the rules, elicited in the course of debate with an opponent, 
oi avoiding self-contradiction and inducing that opponent to contradict him- 
self. In the Topics (which Professor Kapp shows to be earlier than the Ana- 
lytics) the syllogistic game is presented as a mental gymnastic for sharpening 
the wits by a peculiar kind of conversation. For, as its name logos indicates, 
"logic was originally conceived as a science of what happens, not when we 
are thinking for ourselves, but when we are talking and trying to convince 
one another" (p. IQ). Syllogistic rules were not, therefore, obtained by induc- 
tion from empirical observation of how people naturally argue, like the con- 
nection of longevity with absence of bile. The subject did not spontaneously 
think, but he was forced by question and answer to think, according to 
certain patterns. Though the process was allied to that by which he ordinarily 
reached conclusions, he would not normally so think, any more than he would 
"naturally" play chess without being taught. Thus, the very artificiality of 
the procedure must have helped to make clear its formal character. From the 
later discussions of the perfect syllogism and demonstration in the Analytics 
it is clear that Aristotle has become interested in the general character of 
these structures for its own sake and is a formal logician as well as a teacher 
of the technique of scoring in debate. 

Tt is interesting to find that its founders did not ask "What is Logic?" or 
"What is logic about; is it about facts, ideas, symbols, etc.?," but, rather, 
"How is this game of argument played and what are its rules?" No doubt 
many later muddles of traditional logic might have been avoided if this 
orginal approach and practice had been remembered. But there is still un- 
easiness. If logic is a game, it is a more important game than chess, but why ? 
The original springs are refreshing but not even they quite quench our thirst. 

On induction Professor Kapp is brief. He shows that Aristotle recognized 
problematic induction as well as the intuiting of undemonstrable principles 
from their instances which is now called intuitive induction (p. 78). The 
contemporary state of scientific knowledge probably prevented the develop- 
ment of this subiect, even by a logical genius. 

This is a work ot scholarly importance, but it is also excellent and lively 
reading. It can be recommended to all who are interested in the foundations 
of our culture. M. MACDONALD. 



Philosophy. By C. E. M. JOAD. (published by Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd., 
for The English Universities Press, Ltd. 1944. Pp. vi and 228. Price 
33. net.) 

Professor Joad's latest book is small, but it is tightly packed with philo- 
sophical meat. Written with accustomed clarity, conciseness and occasional 
flashes of dry and defiant satire, it gives us Professor Joad at his best. To 
summarize the phihsophia perennis, give a clear and readable account of 

279 



PHILOSOPHY 

the main philosophical problems, draw an attractive picture of the Greek 
spirit, and state the pros and cons of modern scientific materialism, all in 
little over 225 pages, is no small feat. 

Professor Joad admits early in the book that his own preferences have 
led him to concentrate upon certain aspects of philosophy only and to leave 
others untouched. Thus, there is only very partial treatment of Kant and 
practically none of Hegel. Nor, except for a passing reference to Whitehead, 
is there any mention of living philosophers. 

Beginning with an admission of the difficulty of the study and some advice 
to the student, Professor Joad proceeds to summarize the subject-matter. 
The problems of perception, the opposition between the realist and idealist 
viewpoints, ethics, and the modern denial of ethics, politics and the transition 
from philosophy to religion, are dealt with. But it is in the chapter on Plato 
that we have Professor Joad at his most persuasive. His love of the Platonic 
philosophy shines through his somewhat bald and factual style, so that we 
get a glimpse of Plato the poet, the author of the parable of the Cave and the 
myth of Er, the supreme devotee of that life of the spirit for which rd *aAd 
teat dyaOd, things beautiful and good what modern thought inadequately 
expresses by the term "value" are the ultimate ends of human desire. For 
Professor Joad also they are ultimate ends and he deals faithfully, in his 
chapter on ethics, with the doctrine that man's moral convictions have no 
more status than a "complex" or an "inhibition," being merely rationaliza- 
tions of unconscious aversions or desires. How, asks Professor Joad, if that 
is the case, did the idea of morality arise? How have the exponents of a 
naturalistic ethic got hold of a moral standard by which to say "This is non- 
moral" ? The whole of an organism is not contained in its roots. The end to 
which it is developing is also part of its being, and if we want to understand 
it, we must take it at its most highly developed and organized stage. There 
is more in the oak than in the acorn, more in the fully-developed human 
body than in the embryo. 

The central theme of the book is the supremacy of value. For man, the end 
and meaning of the universe is truth, goodness and beauty. Man's capacity 
for these is his esse, that which distinguishes him from the other animals. 
Happiness is also an end, but Professor Joad, rejecting Hedonism, gives it 
an inferior status to the other three. Values are not subjective in the sense 
of being the creation of our own minds. They exist independently of our 
apprehension of them because they are the expression of "a mind other 
than our own, which knows and enjoys these values." This points to the 
existence of God, the Creator of the material universe and of a spiritual order, 
the source of the values for which men live. And when in the last chapter 
Professor Joad writes of values as "taking the initiative in establishing 
relations with us," he seems to have moved definitely away from Aristotle's 
conception of an unmoved Mover of all things and to be enunciating, in 
carefully non-committal language, the Christian doctrine of God, 

In his chapter on politics, Professor Joad examines the rightful ends of 
political action and those which states dp n\ fact pursue. Here he is at his 
most pungent, and this chapter may be heartily recommended to the smug 
missionary, whether in the political or ecclesiastical sphere. It also contains a 
telling statement of the ease for individual freedom to follow the good life 
in all its diversity, as it exists for greatly diverse personalities. Professor 
Joad admits the difficulties which result from the practical application of 
this principle. It is an essentially Christian principle, deeply rooted in Catholic 
theology, with its insistence upon human free-will and moral responsibility, 
and it has been given political expression only in the Liberal State, a fact 

280 



NEW BOOKS 

to which Catholic thinkers appear remarkably blind. (The last is the reviewer's 
comment, not a statement of Professor Joad's.) 

The true function of the state is so to order the common life that the 
individual may direct his energies to the contemplation of truth, goodness 
and beauty, and to giving these expression in all forms of activity, such as 
art, science and personal conduct. Few will cavil at this contention. It might, 
however, be suggested that in even the most perfect society conceivable, 
where each citizen is secured from the cradle to the grave from poverty and 
ill-health, the things for which Professor Joad and most thinking people of 
goodwill contend are likely to be the preoccupation only of a few. What, 
then, is the good life for the many? We know the answer Plato gave, of 
TroAAo/ must labour at re^vrj, the things which are means and not ends, in 
order that ol apiaroi may give themselves to the contemplation of the 
eternal values which the many are incapable of appreciating. This is the 
deeply cherished, semi-conscious conviction of aristocracy in every age and 
any genuine acquaintance with the strata of modern society forces the query 
upon the most ardent democrat who retains any standards of thought and 
conduct: "What if it were after all true, and the masses, content to be drugged 
by cinema and jazz, dismissing intellectual activity as 'highbrow* and moral 
effort as 'pie/ are incapable of appreciating the things of eternal worth?" 
I will not attempt to answer the question, only to suggest that if philosophers 
were periodically to leave their academic shades, as Plato's Guardians 
abandoned the contemplative life in order to revisit their comrades chained 
in the Cave, and to mingle with the masses in factory, office and field, they 
might gain a deeper insight into the difficulties which beset the practical 
application of the principles for which they rightly con tend. I. M. HUBBARD. 



An Introduction to Philosophy. By W. A. SINCLAIR. Humphrey Milford, 
Oxford University Press. 1944. Pp. 152. Price 53. net.) 

In this small book of 151 pages, Dr. Sinclair sets out to provide a practical 
exercise in philosophical thinking for the ordinary reader and at the same 
time to state his own theory of perception and knowledge. His chief aim is 
to make the reader question the common assumptions about perception and 
thought and, having jolted him out of his unthinking complacency, to lead 
him by further reading down the path of philosophical enquiry. 

The book is devoted mainly to an examination of the representation is t 
theory of perception in Descartes and Locke and to a statement of Dr. Sin- 
clair's own alternative to this theory. His grounds for rejecting it are a little 
unexpected, for they appear to be no more than a conviction that Berkeley 
cannot possibly be right. Berkeley's conclusions are, he holds, inescapable, 
given the assumptions of Descartes and Locke. He does not put forward 
any reasoned argument to prove Berkeley wrong, apparently regarding this 
as self-evident. He rejects the "three-term" theory of perception the as- 
sumption of a knowing mind, an object to be known and ideas or sensibilia 
carrying on an ill-defined existence between the two and, as a substitute 
puts forward what might be jterraed a "selectivist" theory of perception. 
According to this, our sense organs select from the multiplicity of etheric 
waves by which they are continuously bombarded and the differences in 
the perception of individuals are due to differences in individual sense organs. 
Thus, the organs of men and some organs of some animals are attuned to a 
different wave-length and therefore make a different selection. Dogs can 
hear sounds that we cannot. But the waves are always "there," whether or 
not they are registered by any sense-organs, just as Broadcasting House is 
always "there," whether or not we switch on our radios. 

28l 



PHILOSOPHY 

So much may, so far as the reviewer knows, be accepted as scientific fact. 
But does it really affect the point at issue ? Dr. Sinclair contends that we 
do really know reality at first hand and that the secondary qualities, to which 
we in part owe the richness and complexity of our experience, are not the 
illusions that Locke held them to be. But is this compatible with a definition 
of reality as a succession of waves ? Waves in what ? Waves of what ? Surely 
a good deal of translation has to be done by the senses or the mind or both 
before these waves can be turned into our perceptions of an aeroplane, a 
Bach chorale or a bowl of Christmas roses. And is Dr. Sinclair's position 
after all so very different from Berkeley's ? Berkeley also held that we know 
reality at first hand, that our perceptions are the result of direct contact 
between ourselves and reality. But because he gave reality the name of God, 
this fact has been overlooked and he has been called a subjective idealist. 

Against the ''correspondence" theory of truth, Dr. Sinclair puts forward 
a "coherence" theory, reminiscent of Bradley 's doctrine of reality. Bradley 
held that a system of thought has reality in so far as it is comprehensive 
and internally harmonious, that is, in so far as it explains a multiplicity of 
facts without self-contradiction. In much the same way, it would seem, Dr. 
Sinclair contends that that theory or system of thought is true which is 
simple and harmonious and at the same time takes account of all the relevant 
facts, and also here Dr. Sinclair seems to be enunciating pragmatism has 
useful results for practical living. 

With regard to the mental processes involved in what we call acquiring 
knowledge, Dr. Sinclair holds, and here no one is likely to disagree with 
him, that just as the senses select the waves they register, so the mind selects 
and groups its facts according to its needs. All our knowledge is the result 
of this process. A scientist selects and groups the facts that are relative to 
the problems on which he is engaged. He is liable, as is everyone else, to 
ignore even some of the facts which are relevant, if he doesn't like them, because 
they militate against some conclusion he desires. Dr. Sinclair does not mention 
that we are also liable to ignore the facts we do like and to over-emphasize 
those we don't in our anxiety lest our judgment be clouded by personal 
desires. 

Dr. Sinclair suggests that knowledge of our own unconscious mental 
processes is needed in the search for truth and appears to look to the psycho- 
analysts to supply this. But psycho-analysts deal, not so much with facts 
as with interpretations of facts, and it is precisely in interpretation that 
errors in selecting and grouping are most likely to arise. We interpret according 
to our assumptions and everybody does not accept the assumptions of iQth 
century scientific materialism on which psycho-analysts base their theories, 
and would therefore, in matters concerning the deeps of the human soul, 
unhesitatingly dismiss the estimable followers of Professor Freud as blind 
leaders of the blind. Again, if we accept the coherence theory, truth is sub- 
jective, not objective, and the roots and origins of our beliefs are irrelevant 
so long as the beliefs themselves are simple, comprehensive and convenient 
for practical life. * * 

Although many readers will disagree with Dr. Sinclair upon many points, 
this is a most valuable book and wholly successful in its aim of arousing 
thought and stimulating enquiry. The digressions, of which there are several, 
are admirable. Dr. Sinclair's remarks upon literary craftsmanship would, I 
imagine, be acceptable to any capable and experienced writer. His list of 
books recommended to the student for further study is comprehensive, 
although some will wish that he had included Aristotle's Ethics and Kant's 
Critique of Pure Reason." It is noteworthy that he rejects the "philosophia 

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NEW BOOKS 

perennis" "wrong-headed" is his word for it. His presentation of the various 
aspects of philosophy, his estimate of their value and his rejection of all 
narrow, partial, or prejudiced views on religion, theology and psychology 
show a breadth of outlook and a finely balanced judgment. Altogether, this 
book should succeed admirably in an admirable object to make people 
think philosophically and to set them on the path that leads to an ever- 
deepening knowledge of truth. I. M. HUBBARD. 



Books also received: 

R. HACKFORTH. Plato's Examination of Pleasure (A Translation of the 
Philebus with Introduction and Commentary). Cambridge University 
Press. 1945. Pp. viii -j- 144. IOS - 6d. net. 

CHARLES L. STEVENSON. Ethics and Language. New Haven, Conn.: Yale 
University Press. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. 
1945. Pp. xii -f- 338. English price, 26s. 6d. net. 

LEONARDO OLSCHKI. Machiavelli the Scientist. Berkeley, California: The 
Gillick Press. 1945. Pp. 58. No price quoted. 

THE Rx. HON. VISCOUNT SAMUEL, P.C., G.C.B., G.B.E. Memoirs. London: 
The Cresset Press. 1945. Pp. viii -f 304. 155. 

WM. EBENSTEIN. The Pure Theory of Law. Madison, Wisconsin: University 
of Wisconsin Press. 1945. Pp. xii ~\- 210. $2.50. 

HELENE WEISS. Kausalitat und Zufall in der Philosophie des Aristoteles. 
Basel: Verlag Haus zum Falken. 1942. Pp. 196. Price, 10 frs. Swiss. 

SIR JAMES JEANS, O.M., F.R.S. The Astronomical Horizon (The Philip Maurice 
Deneke Lecture, 1944). Oxford University Press. Pp. 24. 2s. 6d. net. 

R. I. AARON. Our Knowledge of Universals (Annual Philosophical Lecture, 
Henriette Hertz Trust, Brit. Academy, 1945) (Proceedings of the British 
Academy, Vol. XXXI). London: Humphrey Milford. Pp. 28. 2S. 6d. net. 

RUPERT C. LODGE. Philosophy of Business. Chicago, 111.: University of 
Chicago Press. London: Cambridge University Press. 1945. Pp. 
xiv -f- 432. English price, 303. 

WILLIAM F. QUILLIAN, JR. The Moral Theory of Evolutionary Naturalism. 
New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press. London: Humphrey Milford, 
Oxford University Press. 1945. -^P- x * v 4- I 54- English price, 203. net. 

VERNON J. BOURKE. Augustine's Quest of Wisdom. Milwaukee, Wis.: The 
Bruce Publishing Company. 1945. Pp. xii -|- 324. $3. 

A. PHILIP MCMAHON. Preface to an American Philosophy of Art. Chicago, 
Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Agent: Cambridge University 
Press, London. 1945. Pp. vi -f- 194. English price, 158. 

C. C. J. WEBB, M.A., D.Litt., Hon. LL.D., Hon. D.Theol., Hon. D.D. 
Religious Experience (A Public Lecture delivered in the Hall of Oriel 
College on Friday, May 19, 1944). With a Foreword by L. W. Grensted, 
D.D. Printed, together with a Bibliography of his Published Writings, 
and presented to him by some of his Friends and Pupils on the Occasion 
of his Eightieth Birthday, ^June 25, 1945. London: Humphrey Milford, 
Oxford University Press. 1945.* Pp. 70. 73. 6d. net. 

ZERA S. FINK. The Classical Republicans (An Essay in the Recovery of a 
Pattern of Thought in Seventeenth Century England). Northwestern 
University Studies in the Humanities, Number Nine. Evanston, Illinois: 
Northwestern University. 1945. Pp. xi -f- 225. $4. 

A. D. LINDSAY. The Good and the Clever. Founders' Memorial Lecture, 
Girton College, 1945. Cambridge University Press. 1945. Pp. 28* 
is. 6d. net. 

283 



CORRESPONDENCE 

To THE EDITOR OF Philosophy 

DEAR SIR, 

In his article on Finality in Theology Professor Laird quotes some passages 
from one of my books in which I maintain that for a believing Christian his faith 
gives him the clue to the understanding of everything in heaven and earth. He then 
expounds these passages as though they were meant to assert a claim to a type of 
exclusiveness which I have never held, which indeed I have spent a good deal of 
time trying to persuade certain of my fellow Christians to abandon. 

It may be that I have laid myself open to this misunderstanding by my own 
failure to express myself clearly. I deliberately used the word "clue" because a clue 
needs interpretation if its implications are to be grasped and understood, and it is 
my belief that the implications of the revelation of God in Christ are to be grasped 
by just such collaborative intercourse between theology and philosophy as Pro- 
fessor Laird advocates at the end of his article. 

If you have the space, I should like your readers to have the following passages 
to take together with those quoted by Professor Laird in your July issue. They come 
from p. 34 of my Doctrine of the Trinity. 

"The only possible conclusion to be drawn from the actual revelation which God 
has given is that while for His own good purposes He enables some people and 
not others to grasp that revelation, what He demands of all men as the condition 
of their justification is the sincerity which is true to what it honestly believes and 
will not pretend to believe what it docs not." 

"The actual result of God's refusal to make His revelation so clear and self-evident 
that no one can fail to grasp it is that our minds are kept on the stretch, our wits 
sharpened, our tastes trained, our characters strengthened. No one, for example, can 
study the history of Christian doctrine without discovering how greatly our insight 
into its significance has grown through the interchange of thought between theology 
and philosophy, between Christian and pagan, between orthodox and heretic. . . . 
The reason why a particular revelation is given to one man and not to another is 
that the interplay of their differing minds is for the mutual benefit of both, and it is 
this mutual benefit that of His love for both God wills with impartial justice to 
bestow upon them." 

Yours faithfully, 

LEONARD HODGSON. 

CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD. 
August 29, 1945. 



To THE EDITOR OF Philosophy 

DEAR SIR, 

When I read Mr. Toms' admirable notice of my text -book Does It Follow? 
I concluded that the little thing was even more popular than I had imagined it to 
be. On a second reading I found the notice instructive in a way that Mr. Toms did 
not, I think, intend ; and since there will be hundreds of readers of PHILOSOPHY eager 
to read this important work I am bound to point out how his interpretation differs 
from mine. He says that I am dubious of theoretical exposition. In a handbook 
chiefly intended for subscribers to the Daily Babblegraph and for listeners to the 
election addresses of the Hon. Samuel Slumkey it was not necessary to define the 
Forms of Thought. But his principal complaint is that I allow errors that lack objective 
test. For (a) I suppose that observation precedes reasoning, and therefore I admit 
a subjective criterion. But I plainly suggest, in all that I say about selection and 
analysis that observation includes judgment. And (b) I refer to subjective and 
debatable principles as tests of objectivity. In the sentence to which the critic refers 
I am discussing hypotheses such as that the weather can be altered by spiritual 
electricity, and I remark tritely that hypotheses that introduce unknown forms of 
agency are superfluous. Upon this Mr. Toms saddles me with a premise of his own 
invention "that supernatural hypotheses are pure speculation" ignoring half my 
sentence "If results can be accounted for in other ways." This precaution no more 

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CORRESPONDENCE 

makes me a positivist than a prelapsarian. He proceeds to show that two examples 
given in Part II presume sheer imputation on my part. A correspondent in one of 
the magic journals surmises that some letters are more lucky than others on the 
ground that he has noticed that football teams beginning with B are seldom beaten. 
Mr. Toms tells me that to those of a different way of thinking this would not contain 
error, that it asserts sufficiency of observation, and that I am making a horrible 
blunder in saying that the observation is unscientific. But when people in the Monthly 
Diviner and elsewhere suppose connections of this sort, between initial letters and 
victories in the League, we are entitled to suspect errors of very simple enumeration, 
and can fairly think that the record is insufficient. Examples of this type, in fact, 
raise interesting discussions about sufficiency of evidence. 

Yours faithfully, 

MEYRICK H. CARR. 
* 26, VICARS' CLOSE, WELLS. 



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INSTITUTE NOTES 

At the Annual Meeting of the Institute, held on July I7th, the President, 
Viscount Samuel, gave a short address, of which the following, with some 
omissions and expansions, is a report. 

THE INSTITUTE IN THE WAR PERIOD 

During the six years of war the national life has suffered in a multitude of 
ways: there have been many restrictions, many discomforts, many deficien- 
cies. The physical blackout has been strict; but happily there has been in 
Britain no blackout of culture. Institutions, for example, such as our own, 
although their activities have been reduced, have not been obliged to suspend 
them altogether. 

The mental life of the nation has, indeed, suffered a real injury through the 
excessive restrictions imposed upon the supply of paper for books; con- 
tinuous protests, from the most authoritative quarters, were of little avail. 
On the other hand, there was much appreciation of the action of the Govern- 
ment in making available a substantial sum of money, entrusted to the British 
Academy for distribution, to help to keep alive the Journals and other publi- 
cations of Learned Societies, which otherwise might have fallen victims to the 
combined effects of falling memberships and rising costs. 

By grants from this source our Journal, PHILOSOPHY, has been helped to 
continue publication. Though reduced in size, and appearing only three times 
a year instead of quarterly, I think you will agree that in quality it has main- 
tained its standard. For that we have to thank, as always, the discrimination, 
energy and care of its editor, Mr. Hooper. 

The Institute has arranged lectures from time to time, in spite of the great 
difficulties and damages that often hindered the holding of any kind of meet- 
ing in London during the war years. For next autumn and winter a full pro- 
gramme has been prepared. As with similar societies, we have suffered a serious 
fall in membership from 1,400 to less than 1,100. It is of vital importance 
that that loss should be made good, and we must appeal to all our present 
members to play the part of recruiting officers. Next year will be the twenty- 
first since the establishment of the Institute, and it is intended to celebrate 
the anniversary by a special campaign to strengthen its membership, and 
thereby to enlarge its influence and promote more fully the purposes of the 
Founders. 

During the year British Philosophy has been honoured by the conferment 
of the Order of Merit upon Professor A. N. Whitehead, by general recognition 
the most eminent living philosopher in the English-speaking world, and a 
worthy successor in the ranks of the Order to F. H. Bradley and Samuel 
Alexander. 

We miss from this meeting with much sorrow one of our most regular and 
devoted attendants the late Dr. Garvie; and another of our members, Pro- 
fessor Susan Stebbing, for many years active on the Executive Committee. 
Sir Arthur Eddington and Professor de Burgh are other leading figures whose 
deaths we record with deep regret. 

A WAR OF IDEAS 

In the early months of the war which now seem so far away the Institute 
organized a series of eight Addresses, delivered in the Hall of the Royal Empire 

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INSTITUTE NOTES 

Society, under the title "The Deeper Causes of the War, and Its Issues/' 
Delivered by some of our best-known members they attracted large audiences ; 
and, published as a book, they may have helped to give guidance to public 
opinion in realizing how vital were the issues at stake in the colossal struggle 
that was then opening. 

Of the innumerable wars that have blotted with blood the annals of human 
history, some have been dynastic; others have been merely struggles for en- 
larged frontiers, colonies or trade. The principle expressed by Voltaire was 
accepted as the normal view "Such is the condition of human affairs that to 
wish for the greatness of one's own country is to wish for the harm of its 
neighbours." But some have been essentially Wars of Ideas. The Crusades: 
the religious wars that followed the Reformation; the American and other 
Wars of Independence, and those that arose from the French Revolution, were 
clearly in that category. Marxism also might easily have resulted in inter- 
national, as well as civil conflicts. The Trotsky policy in Russia, and the partici- 
pation of Italian and German forces, and of an International Communist 
Brigade, in the Spanish Civil War, might have proved to be precursors. Un- 
questionably the European and world cataclysm through which we have just 
passed was in essence a War of Ideas the outcome of Fascist and Nazi 
philosophy. We might have said with Burke, "It is with an. armed doctrine 
that we are at war." 

If those principles had taken hold in this country, in the British Dominions 
and in the United States, they would surely have triumphed. That they did not 
do so is because other, and opposite, ideas were already deeply rooted, through 
their political and religious histories, among the English-speaking peoples. 
From the practice of liberty had been evolved the theory of democracy. 
Knowledge and study of the Bible had implanted an ethical system which 
inculcated and sustained justice, mercy, goodwill and national righteousness. 
It left no room for the opposite doctrine that became dominant in Germany, 
Italy and Japan. 

THE MORAL 

The main conflict is over, and the moment has come when we may try to 
discern the lessons. 

The first plain to the eyes of all men in the fate of the three States which 
had embraced aggressive militarism confirms, more strikingly perhaps than 
any previous experience, the truth of the conclusion which Arnold Toynbee 
drew from his great survey of all the civilizations in all the ages "Militarism 
is suicidal." It has been said that "he who makes many afraid of him has him- 
self many to fear." The conqueror of one day, if he is a conqueror and nothing 
more, is sure to be the conquered of the next. 

Second: the outcome being what it has been, the war gives no reinforcement 
to pessimism. The very occurrence of two world wars, causing suffering and 
destruction beyond all measure, together with the many failures of statesman- 
ship during the period between them, might indeed well have justified the 
gloomiest views on the present yosijion and future prospects of mankind if 
the war had ended in a victory for Nazism. But since the opposite has happened 
the conclusion to be drawn is the d^posite. The nations forming the vast 
majority of the human race rose in resistance. They banded themselves to- 
gether in an alliance, which remained absolutely solid under the heaviest blows 
and through the gravest perils. They showed that, even in warfare, demo- 
cracies can beat dictatorships. At the cost of immense sacrifices, their armies, 
navies and air-forces, established an absolute supremacy. And at the end they 
have instantly set themselves to create a lasting organization that shall 

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PHILOSOPHY 

endeavour to prevent the recurrence of such catastrophes. These things are 
indeed a striking vindication of the virtue that resides in the spirit of Man. 

Third : the experience has taught us the enormous power of political and 
ethical ideas. And it has brought home to us the need to be on our guard 
against wrong ones. We cannot accept the authority of intellectuals at its face 
value. Herder, Fichte, Treitschke, Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, 
Nietzsche, Spengler, were also among the intellectuals. Hence the responsi- 
bility of the merchants of ideas, that is the philosophers, to test and to choose, 
and to bring to the market-place only the sound ones. So the conclusion, for 
us here in Great Britain, is that one task that lies ready to our hand, and one 
duty by no means unimportant, is to maintain the numbers and the strength, 
the activities and the influence, of our own Institute of Philosophy. 



OBJECTS OF THE INSTITUTE 

The British Institute of Philosophy exists to bring leading exponents of 
various branches of Philosophy into direct contact with the general public, 
with the purpose of satisfying a need felt by many men and women in every 
walk of life for greater clearness and comprehensiveness of vision in human 
affairs. 

With this broad educational purpose in view, the Institute 

(1) Provides at suitable times in the day and evening courses of lectures 

by leading exponents in the more important subjects coming within 
the scope of Philosophy. All branches of Philosophy are represented 
Ethics and Social Philosophy, the Philosophy of Law and of the 
Sciences, of the Fine Arts and of Religion, as well as Logic and 
Metaphysics and Psychology. 
These lectures are free to members. 

(2) Issues a quarterly philosophical journal (free to members). 

(3) Proposes to form a philosophical Library. 

(4) Gives guidance and assistance to individuals in their philosophical 

reading. 

(5) Encourages research in Philosophy. 

There are Local Centres of the Institute at Bangor, Cardiff, Liverpool, 
Manchester, Newcastle and Durham, and Sheffield. 

Further information and forms of application for membership 
may be had on application to the Director of Studies at University 
Hall, 14 Gordon Square, London, W.C.I. 

[Suggested] 

FORM OF BEQUEST 

I bequeath to THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY the sum 

of free of duty, to be applied to the purposes of 

that Institute, and I declare that the receipt of the Honorary Secretary, or 
other proper officer for the time being of that Institute, shall be sufficient 
discharge for the same. 

288